These cane toads found an ingenious route to safety when a storm hit – hitching a lift on the back of a python.
The image was captured by Paul Mock, who spotted the unusual sight on his farm in Western Australia.
Paul was checking the state of the dam on his property in Kununurra in the early hours of Monday as a thunderstorm swept through the area bringing around 70mm of rain.
“I went out to lower the spillway and it was already really full,” he told the Press Association. “It has destroyed all the homes where the toads live.”
Paul said there were thousands of cane toads sitting on the grass by the lake.
“Then I nearly stepped on the python,” he said. “It’s a python we know a bit because he hangs around the house. We call him Monty.”
Monty was making for higher ground with the toads on board, and Paul used his smartphone to snap the striking image.
He sent it to his brother who posted the picture on Twitter, to the delight of some experts, one of whom stated the toads were in fact trying to mate with Monty.
Cane toads, an invasive species in the Australian ecosystem, are highly poisonous to many snakes.
They have had a devastating impact on some reptile populations in the country, but some have learned to cohabit with them.
Monty appears to be among those who have no interest in consuming the toads – perhaps because he is interested in bigger prey.
“Monty’s known to eat wallabies,” Paul said. “And he’ll try and eat your chickens.”