Driving off the Chayne yesterday, I put up a family group of four crows. They had been huddled next to the verge, and as they rose into the air, one of them dropped a little bundle onto the tarmac. Keen to see what it was, I slowed down and found the tattered remains of a frog. For some reason, I found that I was surprised.
Everyone knows that crows will kill small chicks in season, which is why I devote my entire spring to killing them, but the idea that they are active carnivores throughout the year seemed a little surprising. The family had clearly happened on an unfortunate frog and had set about him, meaning not only that they are happy to kill, but that they are real omnivores.
With typical amphibian stoicism, the frog wasn’t dead. Even in that state, he still blinked when I touched his eye, and managed to swallow as I scooped him off the road. On the few occasions in my life when I have had to kill frogs, I’ve found the task exceptionally difficult. Perhaps their anatomy is so extraordinarily laid out that their vital organs are tucked away in a secretive corner which I can’t find. I accidentally rolled a boulder onto one last year when I was mending a dyke. The poor little sod had burst open and I tried to finish the job quickly by giving him a decent dunt with the heel of my boot. Half an hour later, I came back to the spot and found that he was still alive, traipsing his puddings across the grass.