Few animals are quite as fearsome as a bird of prey. From eagles to hawks, predatory birds are known for their speed, strength, and lethality. Their ability to fly also makes them extremely dangerous, as they can hunt in almost any environment.
Watch below as an eagle makes a show of its strength by flying off with a fox!
Click the button below to watch!
The clip begins by showing a majestic eagle standing on the edge of a large cliff. Under its talons is a fox, limp on the ground. After surveying the vast landscape, the eagle spreads its wings in preparation to fly. As the eagle takes off, it grips tightly onto the fox, lifting it off the ground as well.
The weight of the fox pulls on the eagle, and the eagle’s talons grip tighter. After readjusting, the eagle can successfully fly with the fox.
The clip ends with the bird carrying the lifeless fox into the distance, high up in the sky!
Despite there being many types of predatory birds, most of them hunt the same and have similar hunting adaptations. First of all, eagles have amazing eyesight, which allows them to spot small prey from long distances.
They will typically try to make a nest as high up as possible. For most species, this means that clifftops and tall trees are common nesting sites. After building a nest, an eagle may reuse it for years to come, especially if they have a mate. Aside from living and breeding in the nest, they use their amazing eyesight to hunt from their nest.
After catching sight of prey, an eagle will typically take off toward it at a gradual decline. Once the bird is close enough to grab its prey, it will cling on with its sharp talons. In most cases, an eagle’s talons are enough to take down prey, however, their sharp curved bills are also used to kill.
What Animals Do Eagles Hunt?
You may have been surprised to see the eagle in the video below flying off with prey as big as a fox. Don’t be too surprised though, most can take off with prey that is up to half their body size!
For the most part, they aren’t primarily hunting for extremely large animals such as foxes. Another factor that impacts what prey they will hunt for is their location and species. For instance, species that live on the coast typically hunt for fish and other aquatic animals. In contrast, species that live inland tend to hunt more for small rodents and terrestrial animals.
As a whole, the majority of an eagle’s diet consists of relatively small prey such as rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents. Likewise, for coastal species rodents may be replaced with a similar size aquatic animals.
In rare cases, such as shown in the video, an eagle may be able to catch an animal such as a fox!
Is It Normal Behavior for an Eagle to Prey on a Fox?
Yes, it is normal behavior for larger eagles like golden eagles and bald eagles to prey on larger mammals, though it’s not an everyday occurrence. Golden eagles have been known to target deer, pronghorns, bighorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes, and yes, foxes. These types of eagles are also capable of targeting domestic pets like cats and smaller dogs left unattended. They won’t typically go for a dog that’s heavier than their own weight, but a toy or small dog breed could definitely be viewed as potential prey by an eagle.
How Large Do Golden Eagles vs. Foxes Get?
It’s certainly amazing that a golden eagle can pick up and carry an animal as large as a fox. How is this possible? Let’s take a look at the sizes of these two animals for a better understanding.
In height, a golden eagle averages 33 inches tall and weighs up to 13.5 pounds. Its wingspan measures from 5.9 to 7.7 feet, placing it amongst the largest birds in North America. This massive bird of prey has a talon grip strength of 500 psi and can carry an average of 8 pounds of weight.
Red foxes are the largest members of fox family, typically growing from 36 to 42 inches in length, standing around 16 inches tall to the shoulder, and weighing from 7 to 15 pounds.
If a golden eagle were to target a red fox that happened to weigh 7 or 8 pounds, maybe 1-2 lbs more, it would be able to carry the fox. Given this information, it would be safe to estimate that the fox in the video weighed no more than 8 or 9 pounds.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Touched by light images/Shutterstock.com
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