A photographer has captured the incredible moment an eel has tried to escape from inside a heron’s stomach while the bird was still in flight.
A photographer has captured the incredible moment an eel has tried to escape from inside a heron’s stomach while the bird was still in flight.

Insane moment eel escapes bird’s stomach

An amateur wildlife photographer has captured an eel's attempt to escape from inside the bird that ate it alive.

Sam Davis, 58, from Maryland in the US captured the incredible moment on camera. His pictures show the eel bursting out of the stomach of the great blue heron that scooped it up.

An eel bursts out the neck of a heron. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
An eel bursts out the neck of a heron. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press

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The snake eel has a hard tip for digging around the soft sand on the ocean floor where they spend most of their time.

This eel had the idea to use that hard tip to get itself out of the bird's stomach instead. Unfortunately, from the photographs, it seems the snake eel did not survive and failed to complete its escape.

Mr Davis said he'd gone to the wildlife refuge to photograph foxes, eagles "and whatever else may be interesting".

He watched two eagles and a fox following the heron around and thought they may be preparing to strike.

Wildlife staff said they’d never seen anything like it. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
Wildlife staff said they’d never seen anything like it. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press

 

The snake eel did not survive its daring escape. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
The snake eel did not survive its daring escape. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press

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But it wasn't until he got home he realised what he was really looking at.

"Initially, I thought the heron was bitten on the neck by a snake or eel.

"When I got home and edited the photos I could see it was an eel that was coming through his neck. I could see his eyes and he was still alive," Mr Davis said.

"The wildlife refuge said they have never seen anything like that before. It is kind of a morbid photo."

 

The fox knew it was worth hanging around. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
The fox knew it was worth hanging around. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press

Martin Fowlie, an expert from the RSPB, told MailOnline that snake eels have been recorded trying to burrow out from fish before "in order to escape being eaten".

"But I've not seen images like this before involving a bird," he said.

'I'm surprised the heron is still flying with what must be a sizeable hole in it. I would imagine that the bird won't survive such an injury though."

Originally published as Insane moment eel escapes bird's stomach

Mr Davis said eagles were following the heron through the air. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
Mr Davis said eagles were following the heron through the air. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
A fox chased from the ground. Picture: Sam Davis / Jam Press
A fox chased from the ground. Picture: Sam Davis / Jam Press
The eel burst out of the heron using its hard tip. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press
The eel burst out of the heron using its hard tip. Picture: Sam Davis/Jam Press

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