by , Ranger
Greg Dodge is a professional naturalist as well as a writer, videographer and producer of natural history DVDs. His images have been used in various TV productions, museum displays, and corporate videos. Above all, he has a fascination and passion for all things natural.
Stop by and say hello Tuesday thru Saturday in Explore the Wild, Catch the Wind, or on the Dino Trail.

Big Bull succumbs to Big Blue

June 10th, 2011

Our Great Blue Heron seems almost proud at having captured a large Bullfrog.

Last year around this time I saw a Great Blue Heron take a Bullfrog from the Wetlands. From capture to swallow, the whole process took approximately 13 minutes. On May 19 of this year the heron (or another just like it) took another big frog out of the water. This frog was dispatched in less than ten minutes.

The heron repeatedly dropped the frog onto the mud. If the frog jumped in an attempt to escape the heron stabbed it with its bill.

After many releases, stabs and recaptures the frog had several puncture wounds causing its internal organs to emerge from its skin

Dangling motionless from its bill it was now time for the heron to gulp down its prize.

First soak the frog in the water...

Position the frog...

Assure a firm grip...

And down he goes...

Mmmmm, that was good.

Just another day in the Wetlands.

Join the conversation:

  1. Funny how the heron dunks the frog before he eats it. Does that improve the taste or the digestion? Wonderful pictures! How long does a heron rest after eating something this size before catching another meal?

    Posted by Wendy
  2. Ranger Comment :

    I would think that the dunking would help lubricate the frog for an easier slide down the gullet.
    Typically, when I see herons eat such a large prey item as the frog in the photos at left, they fly off to a favorite perch to rest, preen, and presumably digest. They often remain at that perch for several hours. This heron appeared to go immediately on the hunt again. It walked into the water and resumed stalking prey.
    I didn’t watch the heron for very long as I was needed somewhere else, but I’ll bet it went off to digest once the size and weight of the frog “registered” within the heron’s belly. But I don’t know that for sure.

    Posted by Greg Dodge

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