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Watch: Great blue heron devours baby alligator in Florida lake

Even by Florida standards, this wildlife video is pretty…wild

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Tuesday 08 December 2020 22:45 GMT
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A blue heron wrangles with a gopher
A blue heron wrangles with a gopher (Jessie Garza/YouTube)

In the latest entry to a long and noble tradition, a new video has gone viral of Florida wildlife doing ridiculous things. Though this time it’s not a frightening reptile who is the main character, but rather the victim.

Over the weekend, a Florida wildlife photographer caught video of a Great Blue Heron swallowing a baby alligator whole near Lake Apopka, which is northwest of Orlando. 

“YES, A bird can eat an alligator!” wrote Shellie Gilliam, who captured the amazing footage, on her Facebook. “This Savage Great Blue Heron spent a half hour killing and consuming a large juvenile Alligator near Lake Apopka. 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. Just Wow!”

Ms Gilliam owns a wildlife and exotic animal sanctuary and rehabilitation center, and frequents the area, but even she was surprised.

The video captures the heron, a tall slim bird with a long beak and a thin neck, seeming to ponder, like any of us would in such circumstances, whether it could really down an entire alligator in one go. After some consideration, it whips its head back and swallows the reptile whole. Only a tail can be seen hanging out of its mouth.

Great Blue Herons are the largest herons in North America, according to the Audubon Society, and have a “highly variable and adaptable” diet, including fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, insects, rodents, birds and small rodents. And now, apparently, ‘gator too.

The video gives another recent Florida clip a run for its money. In November, footage surfaced of a miniature dinosaur/giant alligator ambling across a golf course in Naples, further south in the state.

The heron should hope the alligator didn’t have parents who look like this.

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