Big Bull succumbs to Big Blue

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.

2 responses to Big Bull succumbs to Big Blue

  1. Wendy says:

    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?

    • Greg Dodge says:

      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.

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