By Katy Gill and Kristiana Hall
This is the heart-stopping moment a hungry alligator snares a defenceless tangled bird.
Mickey Smith, 28, and his girlfriend Laura Weinberger, 31, were out on a nature walk at Grassy Waters Reserve park in Florida when they spotted a little ibis bird tangled in a fishing line.
Laura went over to try and rescue the struggling bird – but Mickey was shocked when he spotted a sly gator creeping up on her.
As she backed away to safety, the alligator lunged for the bird – and eventually caught the terrified ibis before dragging it down under the water to its death.
Professional videographer Mickey said: “Laura and I were walking along a trail when we heard noises coming from the bushes.
“We went over to see what was going on – and upon discovering that a white ibis was tangled in fishing line, Laura decided to try and help free it.
“As a videographer, I like to keep the camera rolling and had decided to film her attempting to free the bird.
“Having been a fisherwoman since childhood, Laura has experienced birds becoming accidentally entangled in fishing line in the past, and she felt comfortable attempting to remove the line and possible hook from the bird.
“We did not see how the incident had occurred, and had very little supplies on us for this sort of thing – since we had no knife, I had given Laura car keys, which were the sharpest object we had, which.
“As she was attempting to close in on the bird and figure out if a lure or hook was attached, if the bird was tangled at the beak, if it would be able to fly and such, I filmed – and what happened next was unbelievable.
“I heard something breaking through low-hanging tree branches and noticed a gator’s head making its way toward Laura and the bird.
“With the gator’s eyes on the bird, I immediately screamed for Laura to watch out – she backed away quickly to safety as the gator made its way over to the bird, which was flapping and trying to break away.
“We stood there watching as the gator then lunged for the bird – it can be seen that the gator misses the bird at first as the ibis tried to fly away, but then he quickly snatches it up and takes it down underwater to drown and eat it.
“We were both shocked – we had never seen anything like this before.
“We stood there for a minute afterwards just taking it all in.
“Laura felt bad that she hadn’t been quicker to free the bird – she had wanted to make sure that it would be able to fly away without injury or a fishing lure, and I told her that nature took its course and that the bird had attracted the gator as it had attracted us, by flapping around from the attached line.
“Everyone who’s watched the video has commented on how fortunate we were to get out of the gator’s path, and how rare of a moment it was to catch on film.
“Although Laura and I are both shark divers and adventurers, we have never experienced anything like this before.
“We both stood there taking in what had just happened before our eyes, and were really shocked to have encountered something so incredible in nature.
“Laura had even said to me, ‘you know that most people will never see anything like that in their entire lives’.”