Watch: Heron swallows alligator whole

A wildlife photographer has captured the moment a great blue heron swallowed a small American alligator whole.

The photographer said the heron "played" with the baby alligator for a full 20 minutes before killing and eating it.

"Great blue herons eat nearly anything within striking distance, including fish, amphibians, reptiles, small mammals, insects and other birds" the Florida Fish and Wildlife Institute wrote, sharing the video on its Facebook page.

The great blue heron is the largest North American heron. It is found on the shores of open water and in wetlands of North and Central America, as well as the Galapagos Islands and the Caribbean.

The heron mainly eats small fish, although they are opportunistic feeders and have been known to choke on food that is too big to be swallowed whole.

On occasion, the herons are known to be targeted by alligators and the crocodiles.