See ya later alligator.
A Facebook video shows the battle between a huge Great Blue Heron and a baby alligator. It’s safe to say that the alligator did not win the battle.
It is an unexpected turn of events for Florida. Most common in the news are stories of massive Florida alligators or alligator attacks on people and pets. This time, however, a new massive Floridan creature is showing the alligator who’s boss.
The video comes from a Facebook user named Shellie Gilliam. She said that she saw the heron spend a half-hour killing and eating the alligator near Lake Apopka.
“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. Just Wow! Nature continues to me amaze me every day,” Gilliam said in the post.
In the start of the video it is clear that the alligator is already dead at this point. It hangs limply from the bird’s long bill.
The heron slowly starts to push the alligator down the back of its throat. Toward the middle of the video, the bird is standing with just the alligator’s long tail appearing out of its mouth. It stands there looking around casually with it hanging there.
The video does not show the bird with the alligator completely eaten. So, it is unclear if the bird could really eat the alligator whole.
What is the Great Blue Heron?
The Great Blue Heron mostly eats small fish. However, it will also eat shrimp, crabs, rodents, and other small mammals. The bird will feast on amphibians, reptiles, and birds. This seems to include a baby alligator.
According to Discover Wildlife, the bird can be 91-137 cm tall and have a wingspan of 167-201 cm.
The heron is known for its excellent hunting ability. Often they reside on shorelines where they will slowly wait for their prey to make an appearance. The bird then stretches its neck, freezes in place, then strikes with its razor-sharp bill.
The bird also swallows its prey whole. This is because it lacks the means to carry the bird back to the nest. For fish, the heron will always eat head first to avoid the discomfort of scales going down the throat in the opposite direction.
It is unclear if that really makes a difference when swallowing an alligator. The bird will then regurgitate its meal back in the nest to share with the young herons.
Those young birds are eating good tonight with some exotic alligator in their bellies.