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Friday, October 2, 2009

That's quite a mouthful


A wood stork went fishing in the pond behind my villa. She waded out only a few inches, her gangly long legs stilt-like above the surface of the water.

Thinking her fishing expedition would require time and patience, I turned away; but a flash of white from the corner of my eye brought me back to the window. Sure enough, the wood stork flew in my direction across the water, over the golf course and into my backyard.

The fish in her bill was a prize catch. A large sunfish, I decided. She held onto the squirming fish and struggled to get it down. With each swallow, her throat expanded. I wondered if she’d bitten off more than she could chew. Like a mother hen, I worried that she’d choke or worse yet, die from over consumption.

I must admit, I can relate. My own eyes are sometimes bigger than my stomach, and I often dish up much more than I can eat. Humans are not alone in this. Seagulls have been known to stuff themselves so full they must regurgitate. But when they’re done, they go back for more.

A displaced python (there are many here in Florida, brought from other countries and released as unwanted pets) tried to swallow an alligator. The Python’s eyes were bigger than her stomach; and to make matters worse, the alligator was prickly going down. The bite, the python’s last, proved fatal. The python’s lusty appetite was too much of a good thing. She literally exploded before her feast was over.

Knowing what your limits are is wise, and the adage “don’t bite off more than you can chew,” is good advice.