At first glance, this appears to be a cane toad cosplaying as the Caped Crusader. Or maybe Darth Vader. This "Bat Toad" image, snapped at a remote guard station in Peru, has been making the rounds for the past couple days. But what's really happening here?

According to Phil Torres at Peru Nature, the original source for the picture, this is actually an image of a cane toad trying to eat a bat that got too close. And apparently, the attempt was unsuccessful. Torres quotes the photographer, park ranger Yufani Olaya:

Olaya described the toad's success as "out of nowhere the bat just flew directly into the mouth of the toad, which almost seemed to be sitting with its mouth wide open." With toad-like reflexes, this cane toad was able to snatch the unsuspecting bat right out of the air as it flew too close to the ground, and apparently directly at the toad's awaiting mouth.

So, did the toad finally get those wings in its mouth? According to Olaya, no. The toad finally gave up and spat it out. While Olaya at first thought the bat was dead, he said it slowly recovered and was able to fly away. I'm sure it won't make that mistake again.


But wait — there's more. Torres also posted a link to an actual scientific paper about "a related toad feeding on a bat," which includes this illustration:

So this is a known phenomenon — but it doesn't usually look quite as bizarre as the picture up top. Well, depending on how you feel about the picture below, I guess. [Peru Nature]