Great blue heron caught on camera swallowing baby alligator in Florida
(NBC NEWS) - A Florida wildlife photographer captured the rare sight of a bird eating an alligator by swallowing it whole at a lake northwest of Orlando.
Shellie Gilliam said that she was on the north shore of Lake Apopka, Florida’s fourth largest, at a popular birdwatching site on December 5.
An adult great blue heron caught a juvenile alligator and flew with it to the lakeside location where Gilliam filmed it.
“Yes, A bird can eat an alligator! If its Savage enough!” Gilliam wrote on Facebook, adding that it took a half hour for the heron to devour the gator.
“Just Wow!,” Gilliam wrote. “Nature continues to me amaze me every day.”
Great Blue Herons are today one of the most common large waterbirds in the Americas according to the Audubon Society, though they were once widely hunted because of their size.
Their diet is described as “highly variable and adaptable” and includes insects, rodents, birds and of course fish.
These birds often hunt for prey by standing still along shorelines, waiting for fish to swim by, then striking “with rapid thrust of bill,” according to the Audubon Society.
The Great Blue Heron’s diet doesn’t list alligators, but the bird is known to eat reptiles small and large, including frogs, salamanders, turtles and snakes.
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