Alligators are masters of ambush and typically require patience to secure a live meal, but sometimes things happen purely by chance and dinner is served. In the case of a large alligator in Florida’s Mayakka River, it merely had to open wide to catch a gar fish that jumped directly into its mouth–and photographer Marina Scarr was on site to capture the amazing sequence.
The sequence was transformed into a video by Epic Wildlife, which described this episode as “an unlucky day for the fish and probably the easiest meal this gator ever had.”
Low water levels, which expose fish and wildlife, inspired Scarr to visit the river. She told the Daily Mail: “A friend told me the river was extremely low and there were lots of alligators present and he said it would be a good time to take photographs.”
But Scarr spent three full days waiting for something worth photographing, and the wait turned out to be worthwhile.
The sequence shows the gar still in flight between the alligator’s jaws, and the alligator turning the gar in its mouth to get the fish into a comfortable swallowing position.
“It was unbelievable. I’ve never photographed anything like it before,” Scarr said. “The power of the gator was really something special. I felt lucky to capture the moment. It was spectacular.”
It was spectacular, especially considering that Scarr specializes in photographing wild birds. Florida’s alligators, which can measure to about 14 feet and weigh 1,000 pounds or more, are unpredictable and can move surprisingly quickly.
Said the photographer: “I wasn’t worried I would get eaten but another time I had to jump up and run away.”