An unusual life and de*th duel between a giant Pacific octopus and a tragic seagull which finished with an unlikely victory for the eight-armed mollusc has been captured on camera.
Doing battle off the Pacific coast of Canada at Victoria's Ogden Point breakwater, the octopus was seen to violently envelop the bird with its tentacles, drown it and then pull it to its watery grave.
Standing 10ft away was amateur photographer Ginger Morneau, who managed to capture the entire brutal display from mother nature and post it online, creating a viral storm.
Compelled by the tussle, which last just under one minute, Morneau had to fight off the urge to intervene and free the bird and watched helplessly as the fight ended in cruel defeat for the seagull.
'It was a stunning moment, to be sure,' said Morneau in The Vancouver Sun.
Also witness to the gruesome de*th were Morneau's husband Ken and her brother Lou Barker.
'We were strolling along and talking,' continued Morneau.
'I saw the bird in the water and it looked like he was pecking at something underwater.'
Quickly realising that the bird had not come up for air, the group looked closer.
'That was the odd part. That's what made us step forward and we realised there was an octopus,' said Morneau.
Grabbing her camera, Morneau started taking pictures as the seagull's head was engulfed in the octopus' arms.
'It was apparent that it was going to lose,' explained Morneau.
Thinking about intervening, Morneau could not get down to the rocks quickly enough to try.
'It's that horrible situation to watch, like a car wreck, it was so primal and gut wrenching,' said Morneau.
'The hair was standing up on the back of my neck.'
Initially fighting with all its might to free itself, the seagull gave once last jerk before it died and was pulled under the water by the octopus.
'It dropped like a stone,' said Morneau.
'And then it was just gone, were shocked and awestruck, we couldn't believe what we had just seen.
'At one stage, a flock of seagulls flew overhead as their friend was dying. They were waiting, I guess, for scraps.'
Leaving the deathly quiet scene, Morneau, her husband and brother enjoyed a lunch of calamari to toast the success of the octopus.
'Then, when we came home at the end of the day, I wondered what kind of similar pictures could be out there (on the Internet) and I couldn't find a single image of an event like this,' said Morneau.
Reflecting on the fight, Morneau was philosophical: 'It is the unknown. It is the murky depth. It comes up from down below,' said Morneau to Global News.
'It broke barriers. It broke the element of sea and air. It broke the rules.'
The Giant Pacific octopus is the largest octopus species and adults can weigh up to 15 kilograms and have an arm span of up to four metres.
Their usual prey is shrimp, crabs, scallops and fish.
'It was really sad at that final moment,' said Morneau to The Canadian Press.
'For as wonderful nature is, nature can be deadly.'source