An alligator snatches a large catfish out of the water in this photo taken in May at the Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery in Venice, Florida. Credit: Courtesy of Gary Leavitt

It likely will take you about one second to realize that today’s outdoors photo was not taken in Maine.

Even so, a man with Maine ties couldn’t help but see some similarities to one of our recent outdoors photos sent in by Dave Gomeau Sr. of West Gardiner.

In that one, a garter snake is putting the squeeze on an American toad. Today’s offering by Gary Leavitt, who lives in Connecticut but spends winters in Florida, demonstrates the harsh reality of the animal food chain in a different way.

While photographing birds last month at the Venice Area Audubon Society Rookery in Florida, Leavitt captured this amazing image of an alligator devouring a catfish.

The attack lasted only seconds, in contrast to the slow, deliberate swallowing of the toad performed by the garter snake.

“I had a similar experience as Dave Gomeau … just did not have the same instinct as Dave had with trying to remove this catfish from the food chain,” said Leavitt, whose family comes from Island Falls and Smyrna Mills.

He was referring to Gomeau’s reported efforts to extract the toad from the snake’s mouth, which proved unsuccessful.

In Leavitt’s case, any such move almost certainly would have had some serious consequences.

Thanks to Gary Leavitt for sharing a photo that gives Mainers yet another reason to be thankful that we needn’t be afraid to stick our fingers or toes into the nearest body of water and risk losing some of them.

Do you have a trail camera photo or video to share? Send it to and tell us, “I consent to the BDN using my photo.” In order to prevent neighbors from stopping by to try to tag particularly large bucks, moose or bears, some identities and towns of origin may be omitted. If you are unable to view the photo or video mentioned in this story, go to

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...