Mothers aren't the same the world over, but one thing seems to be a constant: you don't mess with their babies! Alligator mums protect their little ones until they are about a year old, but this heron seems to have overlooked that fact. Reptiles may be a part of herons' diets, but this particular bird has bitten off more than it can chew. The heron has a tiny baby alligator in its mouth for lunch (help, mommy!) and, needless to say, momma alligator is none too pleased about this!
The heron is running away from the mother alligator, which is fast gaining ground.
Uh oh, it looks like the heron is going to take to the air with the tiny little baby!
Still running with momma alligator nipping at its heels, the heron hasn't quite got the speed and lift necessary to take off yet...
Finally, the heron drops the baby to the ground but the baby is not in the clear yet...
There is another heron that was hanging around hoping to pick off the first one's lunch! This alligator has her hands full!
Mum gives the heron a decidedly menacing look – baring those teeth – while her little baby makes its way towards her.
Now, mum finishes the job of seeing off the two pesky herons while the baby wanders around.
At last the baby is back with its mum again, safe and sound.
Maternal instinct in the wild has rarely been better captured on camera. As Claudia Marlene, the photographer who took this amazing sequence of photos, says it: "Hero Mom!” Couldn't have put it better.