Saturday, December 27, 2014

Great Blue Heron's special snack (Sanibel Rice Rat-oh my!)

One sunny afternoon as I was preparing to leave to visit family for the holiday, I caught sight of a Great Blue Heron in my neighbor's yard and took a few minutes to observe, come and see what transpired....
This bird surely commands attention with its royal stature.

Aha! Something sure got his attention....

What in the world??

Oh my, would you look at that!

Not quite what I would expect a Great Blue Heron to be consuming.

The little mouse seems to say: "I guess this is it". Since I wrote this blog - my friend Janet and Aaron pointed out to me that it's a Sanibel Rice Rat - an endangered sub-specie here on our island. Several animals prey on the Rice Rat, it might be infected by many different parasites - lets hope the Great Blue Heron survives this meal.


  1. Wonderful photography here for a first time visitor. Thanks! .... :)

  2. Great pics! However, I do not think that what this GTBH has caught is a Rice rat (Oryzomys palustris sanibeli); this looks more like a Roof rat (Rattus rattus). I say this for several reasons... 1) The face/snout of the rat pictured is too long and narrow, rice rats have more of a stout face 2) Rice rats are more tan/cinnamon in color not greyish like pictured above 3) the ears on the rat above are too big for a Rice rat, while Rice rat ears are bigger than the more common Hispid cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus) the extreme size and shape of the ears pictured above suggest that this is a Roof rat. Finally, Rice rats are not typically found in areas populated by humans (e.g. neighborhoods) they tend to live in seasonal wetlands like swales. This picture appears to be taken from someone's backyard or a golf course where you would typically find nonnative small mammal species like the Roof rat.

    1. This is most interesting - thank you for sharing your knowledge, I appreciate it. There is much that I do not know and I welcome any and all opportunity for further education and study...I am a work in progress and far from being done :)

  3. Wonderful photos. Poor little rice rat.