This article originally appeared on VICE AU.
Last weekend, a seal slapped a man in the face with an octopus. The man was kayaking off the coast of Kaikōura, on New Zealand’s South Island. The seal was tussling with the octopus in the water nearby, and suddenly, without warning, said seal took said octopus and slapped the man across the face with it. And the man described the experience as “weird.”
“We were just sitting out in the middle of the ocean and then this huge male seal appeared with an octopus and he was thrashing him about for ages,” Kyle Mulinder told Seven News. Kyle works for GoPro, so he’s presumably seen his fair share of wild experiences. But has he ever been given a good slapping by a seal with an octopus in its mouth? One would assume he has not.
“He thrashed it in mid fight and my face happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he recalled. “I was like ‘Mate, what just happened?’ It was weird because it happened so fast but I could feel all the hard parts of the octopus on my face.”
The video of the walloping, uploaded to Instagram this week, has since racked up thousands of views. And while most of the reactions are pretty standard fare—“This is too epic,” “What an incredible story” etc—one person suggested that, actually, being slapped by an octopus-wielding seal isn't that uncommon.
“Seals always do this!” they said. “You're just minding your own shit when they come up to you wielding an octopus and fuck you up for no reason. I don't get it.”
Another commenter, meanwhile, took a slightly more scathing analysis of the wildlife encounter.
“Nature doesn’t respect you,” they declared. “Stop treating nature like your playground like a fucking child and start tending to the needs of the planet you fucking dolt that’s obviously what the seal’s telling you.”
In any case, one thing remains clear: There is no greater insult, no rebuke more savage, than to be slapped in the face by an octopus-wielding seal. And that is what happened to this man.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.