We finally have an answer to the age-old question “what would win in a fight between an octopus and a bald eagle?” after a group of salmon farmers stumbled across that exact fight last week off the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada.
The team of farmers were returning to their float house when they stumbled across the bizarre sight, salmon farmer John Ilett told CNN. They heard screeching and splashing, and upon investigation found “a full-sized eagle submerged in the water with a big giant octopus in the water trying to drag it down.”
We’re fairly sure if this had taken place up to 3,000 meters (10,000 feet) above the Earth the bald eagle would have absolutely annihilated the octopus before it could even put all eight of its tentacles in surrender, but in this case, the octopus had the home-field advantage. The octopus was easily winning, dragging the poor eagle into the water.
Unsure what to do – and whether they were supposed to let nature do its brutal thing – the group watched on for around five minutes before deciding they couldn’t watch any longer without helping the eagle.
“We weren’t sure if we should interfere because it is mother nature, survival of the fittest,” Ilett told CNN. “But it was heart wrenching – to see this octopus was trying to drown this eagle.”
The team recorded the last few minutes of the fight, and their intervention to save the bald eagle.
“[Our staff] are used to seeing the wonders of nature around them on a regular basis, but they knew that this was a once in a lifetime experience,” Mowi Canada West writes on YouTube. “The octopus swam away unharmed and the eagle recovered on a branch for around 10 minutes before it flew away.”
The team have been criticized by some on social media for intervening, rather than letting nature “take its course” (in this case a euphemism for letting an octopus drown an eagle).
But not everybody can be as cold as Attenborough, watching patiently as a team of adorable monkeys attacks and eats an even more adorable batch of monkeys, or letting baby turtles get devoured by a seagull live on TV.
“Am I at fault because I’m human and I felt compassion for the bird?” Ilett told CNN. “At the end of the day both animals are alive and well and they went their separate ways and we feel pretty good about what we did.”