Mother Nature can be cruel mistress sometimes, as one unlucky gopher discovered when it was caught and swallowed whole by a blue heron.
The extraordinary footage was captured by Jessie Garza after he noticed the bird making repeated visits to his backyard and lingering there.
His curiosity led him to film the heron one day when he spotted it behind his house. He finally discovered why the bird had been spending so much time in his back garden: gopher hunting.
In a short two-minute video, that even naturalist David Attenborough would be proud of, the blue heron stealthily creeps up to a hole in the ground after spotting the gopher.
The bird waits carefully, biding its time, then strikes at the right moment, pulling the creature out of the ground with its beak.
There is then a tense struggle as the gopher unsuccessfully tries to wriggle out of the heron’s grasp for some time before it is gobbled up whole.
Blue herons are common to North America, Central America and the Caribbean. They mainly eat fish but also feed on aquatic insects, reptiles and small mammals if the opportunity arises.
Garza filmed the heron back in June and the footage has become popular, attracting nearly 150,000 views on YouTube.