Mother Nature can be a pretty scary thing, especially if you’re a tiny little fox in the crosshairs of a mighty Bald Eagle. One young kit (that’s what baby foxes are called, and if you didn’t know that it’s okay because neither did I) found itself hanging from the claws of high-flying predator last week, and the remarkable moment was captured in both photographs and video.
The young fox was itself hunting, having tracked down a small rabbit and carrying it along in its jaws, when it was attacked from above. The eagle, clearly aiming for the rabbit rather than the much larger fox, accidentally snatched both of them off the ground in a grassy area of the San Juan Island National Historic Park in Washington. The fox’s flight didn’t last long.
In a video captured by nature photographer Zachary Hartje, as well as a stunning photo snapped by fellow photog Kevin Ebi, the eagle can be seen hanging on to both the fox and the rabbit simultaneously.
Here is something you don’t see every day: a #baldeagle and a red #fox fighting over a rabbit — and at times more than 20 feet up into the air. It happened Saturday at #SanJuanIsland National Historical Park. The fox caught the rabbit and the eagle tried to steal it away. See the whole sequence of images and hear the story on my blog at LivingWilderness.com. Click blog. It was absolutely incredible to see. The whole battle lasted just eight seconds. The fox ended up OK, but lost its dinner. #wildlife #naturephotography #bird #hunting #action #dramatic
The eagle, with both the fox and rabbit dangling below, has a hard time gaining altitude. The flailing fox was clearly not going to go quietly, and after a few seconds the eagle manages to release the kit who tumbles a few feet to the ground below. The rabbit, which was either already dead or too injured to put up a fight, was not so lucky.
It’s particularly interesting to see the fox’s reaction just before it is snatch up. It clearly knew something was about to go very, very wrong, and performed a half-hearted tumble to avoid the strike. Unfortunately it dove a tad too early, and the eagle was able to adjust and grab both the fox and its would-be dinner. Hopefully the fox was able to hunt another meal, because that rabbit was clearly claimed.