- Footage emerged on Twitter of a Great Blue Heron swallowing a nasty, giant NYC rat.
- The video shows the heron dunking the rat in the Central Park pond before enjoying its meal.
- The birdwatcher who took the footage said it was “unusual” to see a heron eating a rat.
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A Great Blue Heron was filmed dunking a large New York City rat in the Central Park pond, before stuffing its rodent prey headfirst into its gullet and gobbling it whole, tail and all.
Video footage of the wild incident was posted Sunday on Twitter by investor and computer scientist David Barrett, who runs a birdwatching account with 51,800 followers called Manhattan Bird Alert.
-Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) September 5, 2021
Barrett told Insider in an email that the heron probably speared the rat with its sharp bill – the bird’s usual method of killing prey. As to why it dunked its meal in the pond, Barrett said herons often do this probably so their food slides down their throats more easily.
The birdwatcher added that he found the heron “somewhat far from the shore,” but didn’t see where the bird snagged the rat from.
“I was lucky to have arrived when I did, as a few seconds later the heron had swallowed the rat,” he said.
He also said that a heron guzzling down a rat is “unusual,” and that he had never seen a Great Blue Heron eat one before. Great Blue Herons typically eat fish, but sometimes also prey on other creatures like turtles, salamanders, snakes, and yes – rats and mice.
Barrett, who said on his personal website that he has over 10 years of birding experience, posted the video after his photo of the heron with the dead rat wedged in its bill, started going viral.
Some people reacting to the footage on Twitter joked that the herons could be recruited to help solve New York City’s rat problem. Rat complaints in the city have recently surged past pre-pandemic levels, with 2,900 complaints this March, reported Bloomberg.