McGregor vs. Mayweather. Wilder vs. Fury. Lawler vs. MacDonald.
There have been many a great fight in the past 10 years and now, as our decade draws to a close, we must add another bout to the pantheon.
This motherfucking eagle fighting this octopus.
Look at them. Look at them entwined. Look at how gosh darn majestic that nature is.
Nature is so freakin' cool.
The clash of titans was discovered by a crew working at a fish farm off the coast of northern Vancouver Island. The site manager, John Ilett, told VICE he and his crew were just wrapping up the day when they heard a bunch of ”screeching and splashing” coming from behind a float house and decided to investigate.
“We saw a full-size eagle submerged in the water, and then when we look a little bit closer, you can see it was completely wrapped up by a giant octopus,” said Ilet. “It was a little bit startling, it was certainly not what we were expecting to see.”
The two creatures were entangled in a battle for life and death.
Dr. Jennifer Mather, an octopus expert at the University of Lethbridge, told VICE the cephalopod in question was a giant Pacific octopus. Ilet estimated that the creature was about four and a half feet long which, Mather explained, would make it a fully grown adult. She thinks the octopus was treating the eagle as prey.
Octopi eat whatever they can get their hands on so while it is rare for them to get a bird it isn’t unheard of. How this particular octopus got its tentacles around its feathery foe remains a mystery. The eagle may have been sitting on the water and the octopus went after it, or the eagle, greatly underestimating the size of the octopus, may have been the instigator.
“Possibly the eagle might have gone after a fish and kind of got stuck on the water's surface with a big fish that kept on swimming,” said Mather. “So the eagle was at the surface trying to subdue it when the octopus came along and went 'oh sure, here's dinner.'”
In the meantime, we can only imagine the majestic swoops and screeches of the eagle and the, uh, graceful ink squirts and tentacle swipes from the octopus that started the scrap.
Ilet said witnessing the showdown was interesting at first, but it quickly became sad and the crew was torn between letting nature run its course and saving the eagle. Eventually, they decided on the latter.
“We weren't going to do anything to begin with, but that changed after about five or six minutes of watching this heart-wrenching ordeal of the eagle slowly being drowned by the octopus,” said Illet. “So, you know, just human nature, we felt a bit of empathy and compassion, so I decided to step in at that point.”
The crew decided to call the fight a technical knockout and break it up. They approached slowly and reached out with a pole to pry off the octopus. After the refs stepped in the eagle went to a nearby branch to roost and dry off before getting the fuck out of there while the octopus went down to the murky depths to do whatever it is that octopi do.
In terms of who won the scrap, well, it’s a majority decision.
“I think they may have deprived the octopus of a nice dinner,” Mather said with a chuckle.
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