Risky Business

Prey and predator–as natural as watching a swallow catch a winged insect or downing a sushi roll; until the prey is more obvious or more attractive than the beast tracking it down.  It’s hard to watch a National Geographic or Discovery Channel special on a hippo catching a wildebeest or a wolf pack running down an elk, but it is a fact of life on planet earth. We tend to identify with the prey and wish it didn’t have to die, at least like that. Right? I confess those are the emotions I feel.

On recent trips to the Everglades I have had opportunities to watch prey-predator dramas first hand.

Enter the “beautiful” Great Egret.

Grace and Beauty

And the “beastly” American Alligator. Check out that toothy grin.

Watchful

Note that these two creatures share the same habitat.

The Odd Couple

This Snowy Egret chose to relocate.

Out of Here!

But, a Great Egret decided on this particular piece of real estate to pursue its own  prey, a small water snake. I held my breath.

Risky Business

Do alligators eat egrets? Absolutely. Could this gator spring into action and nab the white beauty just inches from its tail? Sure.

Did it?

Bingo!

No.

The gator didn’t even twitch, but the egret got its prey. If you look closely, there’s a snake in its beak.

Alligators, being cold-blooded reptiles, use little energy and therefore can go months without food. Of course the egret has no way of knowing the condition of the gator’s belly, so hunting nearby becomes a gamble. On the other hand, egrets eat baby alligators, so…

I’ll let you finish the thought.

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6 thoughts on “Risky Business

    • I passed by him at about four feet and took the photo from about ten feet away.
      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.

  1. You walked within four feet of that monster? Yikes!

    I’ve been giving myself a nice Sunday morning visiting around in the blogosphere, and as always I enjoyed your tales of ibis and egrets and herons. (The green heron from a couple posts ago is irresistible!) Dunno if “enjoyed” quite covers it for this one, but I was most surely riveted, yes I was. Remarkable photos, ma’am.

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