LAKE APOPKA, Fla. — A Florida wildlife photographer caught an indelible moment in nature: a great blue heron spearing and devouring a baby alligator whole.
Shellie Gilliam, owner of Florida Wildlife and Exotic Animal Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Center, noticed the wading bird Saturday in Lake Apopka, WBBH reported.
“I spotted it just after it had captured the alligator a few hundred yards away and then it flew with the alligator in his mouth to this spot where he consumed it,” she wrote on social media. “Just Wow!”
She was not sure what she witnessed.
“I first thought it was a large fish or a greater siren, but upon closer review through my camera, discovered it was a large juvenile alligator,” Gilliam told WFLA.
The large wading birds, a common site in Florida wetlands, are known to snack on the young reptiles that would otherwise be a predator. A 2017 video from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission shows a great blue heron eating a small alligator in Melbourne.
“Great blue herons eat nearly anything within striking distance, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects and other birds,” the wildlife agency said.
Cox Media Group