Cheeky heron is chased by irate alligator mother after it swipes young from her nest.
This hungry heron got for after snatching a baby alligator from its nest. The large wading grabbed the vulnerable, which then ran off with its lunch held in its beak.
The herons are the long-legged freshwater and coastal birds, with 64 recognised species, some of which are referred to as egrets or bitterns rather than herons.
The herons and bitterns are carnivorous. The members of this family feed on a variety of live aquatic prey. Their diet includes aquatic animals, including fish, reptiles, amphibians, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatic insect
The Alligator’s irate mother spotted the brave which reared up on its hind legs. The protective beast hurtled after the frightened Great Blue Heron. Until it finally dropped its precious cargo on the grass.
The six-inch long baby then managed to scuttle back its, under the watchful eye of its mother. Photographer Claudia Kuenkel, 46, captured the incredible moment. She said: ‘It was a pretty awesome sight. Luckily I was about 90ft away from the action so I wasn’t worried about my own safety.
Normally they just lie around in the sun and don’t really move – I’ve never seen one like that.’ The heron does not appear to have had time to take off as it ran along the grass bank. But it remained near the nest after dropping its lunch on the off-chance of another morsel.
Ms Kuenkel said: ‘It actually wasn’t until afterwards when I looked at my photos that I saw the baby alligator in the heron’s beak and realised what had happened. ‘I’ve never seen a heron eating an alligator baby like this, but I do know they’re vulnerable to all kinds of predators when they’re so small. ‘The mothers are very protective and can be ferocious if anyone tries to harm their babies. Luckily this one had its mum looking out for it.’