Florida Bird Caught on Video Swallowing Whole Alligator
Nature can often seem cruel, with wild animals apparently acting like complete jerks toward one another. This was clearly the case when a wildlife photographer captured amazing video footage of a bird swallowing an entire alligator whole.
Shellie Gilliam was on the north shore of Lake Apopka – a renowned birdwatching site northwest of Orlando, Florida – when she captured the rare scene on Dec. 5.
In the video, an adult Great Blue Heron can be seen gobbling down a juvenile alligator after catching it in its massive beak and flying to the side of a lake for a more comfortable meal.
Gilliam later posted the scene of the huge waterbird dining on the young reptile to her Facebook profile, where the video went on to receive national attention from NBC News, among other media outlets.
“Yes, A bird can eat an alligator! If it’s Savage enough! This Great Blue Heron spent a half hour killing and consuming a large juvenile Alligator near Lake Apopka,” Gilliam wrote.
“I spotted it just after it had captured the alligator a few hundred yards away and then the heron flew off with the alligator in his jaws to this spot where he consumed it and I shot the video and took photos,” she continued. “Just Wow! Nature continues to me amaze me every day.”
The Great Blue Heron is one of the most common among large waterbirds in the Americas, explains the Audobon Society. At one point, the hunting of the Blue Heron was quite common due to their size.
The tall and long-legged bird is typically found along near ponds and streams, in marshes, and along both Pacific and the Atlantic coastlines, explains National Geographic.
Herons are naturally skilled fishers who either walk slowly or stand still before coming within range with their long necks and blade-like bills and striking the deathblow “with a quick thrust of the sharp bill” before the prey is swallowed whole. However, they also have highly variable and adaptable diets that include not only fish, but also insects, rodents and other birds.
The bird is also known to eat various reptiles and amphibians, including frogs, salamanders, snakes, turtles, and clearly alligators.
Indeed, the Blue Heron’s diet doesn’t seem too different or “savage” than that of the average human. After all, we too have been known to dine on gator meat every now and then. Frog leg and alligator gumbo, anyone?
And yes, while the Blue Heron’s behavior may seem cruel to your average human, it’s important that we don’t overly anthropomorphize the natural behavior of wild animals. Let’s remember that the behavior of wild animals – unlike human beings – is always driven by their fundamental need to survive in nature.
This is even the case when the animals in question are eating another’s young!
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