Patient hunting

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Ariel Fana’afi Ioane

The Beelzebufo, a prehistoric animal that lived in the late Cretaceous time period; left its mark in history as the largest frog that ever walked (or more like hopped!) the surface of the earth. 

Named after “Beelzebub,” the alter ego of Satan, a.k.a. “devil toad” or “frog from hell,” this whopping hopper defied all other frog species, weighing ten pounds (5kg) at a 16 inch length. (By the way, the largest frog today, the Goliath frog; is a mere 12.6 inches). 

Its remains were first found in Madagascar by researcher David Krause of Stony Brook University in 1993. The fossils dated back 70 million years ago, during the Age of the Dinosaurs. It has been theorized that this species lived in boggy areas, where there was plenty of moisture and fog in the air - perfect for hydrating amphibian skin. 

It had an interesting figure. Unlike most frogs, the Beelzebufo had no long tongue to catch its prey. Instead it had a wide, broad mouth that could open wide enough to eat small animals whole, such as geckos, lizards, birds, and even small dinosaurs! 

(Just imagine the Joker’s face plastered on a frog’s body. Nasty…) 

Now you would think a jumper this size with a huge mouth would go around charging at its dinner, gulping whatever it pleased. On the contrary, the devil toad of the Cretaceous preferred the “stay-still-and-wait” method of hunting. 

For hours on end a beelzebufo would sit still wherever it would sit camouflaged, until some stupid and oblivious animal would happen to pass by. In a split second, the toad would pull a “joker face” opening its wide mouth to swallow its victim whole. Bon appétit! 

Many other animals of present day hunt using the same “stay-still-and-wait” technique.

Praying mantises lie in wait with their beautiful green armor for passing insects. Spiders spin their webs and hope for a clumsy bug to fly into its sticky snare. During the salmon season in Northern America, grizzly bears line up on the shores on rivers to wait for the fish to jump up, a fresh meal before the winter colds. 

Trees are persevering too. When seeds are dispersed, a hormone called “abscisic acid” keeps them dormant….until ALL conditions that will guarantee successful germination are present within the seeds’ environment. 

Only then does life begin to grow from these wonders of nature. During difficult weather such as strong winds, temperature increase or a rise in humidity, plants have a tendency to lose water through their leaves, a natural process called transpiration, that is amplified to a dangerous level when these factors affect the plant. 

In response, the plant has to decide to close its stomata (holes in the leaves), which is where the water escapes from. However it is also its source of carbon dioxide, a vital ingredient for photosynthesis. Hence, the plant must wait until its favorable conditions for food making are on hand before continuing with its normal food making process. 

Just by observing nature you can see how everything has its time and place. 

Every creature moves accordingly to what it is given, and what it is able to do at that particular stage in life. Such patient creations can only come from a patient Creator. You would think it would automatically make us saintly and patient beings. Contrary to the fantasy we can be as intolerant as they come. I believe the “patience is a virtue” statement really only applies to humans!

In Ecclesiastes chapter 3, King Solomon discusses how everything happens at a time and place. If things are done out of place, it creates consequences. Just imagine if the beelzebufo wasn’t persevering at waiting. It would go hungry and die! 

OKAY, NOT THE GREATEST EXAMPLE BECAUSE NOW THEYR’E EXTINCT… BUT YOU GET THE IDEA!

If plants hadn’t waited for ideal conditions, seeds would die soon after germination. No plants would give rise and we’d be in big trouble. 

If such problems come from small things being done at the wrong time for animals and plants, would you like to fathom what would happen to you if you lost your patience? 

Why not just be a beelzebufo for a change, using the sit-still-and-wait method to get the full meal you want, rather than missing the opportunity? 

I’d rather be a patient devil toad if I were you.

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