LAKE APOPKA, Fla. (WFLA) — Something you don’t see every day, even in Florida: A great blue heron swallowing a juvenile alligator whole.

Florida wildlife photographer Shellie Gilliam said she frequents the Lake Apopka area, but had never witnessed anything like this.

“I first thought it was a large fish or a greater siren, but upon closer review through my camera, discovered it was a large juvenile alligator,” Gilliam recalled.

She said the bird took off with the gator in its mouth and flew to the spot seen in the video and pictures. That’s where it consumed the animal.

“I had to walk a few hundred yards back to where he landed, whew. Once in a lifetime experience,” she said.

The largest heron in North America, the great blue heron’s diet consists mostly of fish but can include frogs, salamanders, turtles, snakes, insects, rodents, birds and, apparently, alligators. They have been spotted in fields stalking voles and gophers, as well as devouring smaller birds, according to the Audubon Society.

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