Wicked and Wild Battle Takes Place Above the Waves!
This showdown isn’t your average run in between predator and prey, this battle is much bigger and bolder! In the incredible video at the top of this page, witness a clash between a sea lion and an octopus! This aquatic showdown proves to be more than just your average little scrap. Sea lions regularly hunt octopus, but compared to a fish or even a crab, there’s no doubt an octopus is tougher to take down! With eight arms covered in suction cups, along with a powerful sharp beak, an octopus is ready to defend itself!
The clip at the top of the page begins after the sea lion has captured the octopus. Quickly, the hungry predator begins duelling the octopus. A strategy of taking it to the water’s surface to isolate the octopus is on the sea lion’s mind. That way the octopus can’t seek refuge in the rocky sea floor, exposed for the sea lion to thrash it about! Although it’s reasonable to assume this thrashing is a hunting strategy, it’s also a reaction to the octopus’ suction cups! Catching slight glimpses of the sea lion as it rages in the waves with the octopus paints a quick picture. In those snapshots of clarity, the octopus is visibly latching to the sea lion’s face! Almost certainly pulling out all the stops in this last ditch defense, one can only assume the octopus’ sharp beak is digging into the sea lion!
Why So Serious? This Fight Seems Like It’s Personal!
Before even a few moments passes though, the battle is clearly decided. Matched up against a foe far bigger and stronger than it, the octopus doesn’t have any chance. The sea lion continues to whip the octopus about, in a technique caught on film before! The video cuts to a different clip, bringing the viewer from the cold water off B.C. to the tropical islands of New Zealand! In this other clip, a fur seal is hunting an octopus using this same slamming technique! However, in this clip the octopus whips into a kayakers face!
Andrew Trites, from the UBC marine mammal research unit, explains that the technique is partially due to the teeth of a sea lion, which can’t chew up an octopus! So in order to avoid choking, the sea lion has to try ripping the octopus apart in this vicious display of life in the ocean! While it might seem unnecessarily brutal or cruel, an octopus isn’t a piece of cake. Ultimately, if the sea lion didn’t ensure the octopus was truly finished, it could fight back while being eaten! This is incredibly life threatening for the sea lion, so the risk isn’t even taken.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Aleksandr Golubev/iStock via Getty Images
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