First a notice, this article contains images some people might be uncomfortable viewing. Nothing horrible, but there is a loser here.
I was close to this heron and just doing the normal photography shooting. Suddenly the bird jumped forward and dove into the swamp water. Lifting the wings like this is a ‘mantel’ covering the prey from any other nearby predators.
The prey was a ‘super sized’ Mud Puppy. They grow to about 12 inches. This was at least 2 feet and giving the heron a good fight. Mud Puppies are really huge swamp salamanders, except poisones when attacked.
Because of the poison from the prey the heron kept dipping it back under water to rinse it. Which helped revive the Mud Puppy of course.
At one point the heron found he was wrapped tight and could not free himself. Probably not what he expected. Shaking and twisting did not help at all.
Finally, after a few minutes of this the heron threw the Mud Puppy away, but just a quick picked him up, but not from the middle as before.
The heron held tight and ultimately the Mud Puppy began to stop fighting.
And then… the heron swallowed him. All 2 feet, poisin and all.
At that point the heron slowly walked away. But every few steps he stopped and took a huge drink of water. No big surprise there.
And once again I was reminded of just why I am out there with a camera. Every day can be an adventure.