What has two wings, eight arms, and is currently regretting its menu choice?
A regular workday took a strange turn for salmon farmers at Mowi Canada West on Quatsino -- a small coastal inlet on Northern Vancouver Island -- when, instead of salmon, they came across an eagle in the death grip of an octopus.
A video posted to Facebook documented the strange encounter in full, as they attempted to save an eagle that clearly had eyes that were bigger than its stomach (or defense mechanisms).
"Our staff at our Mahatta West farm in Quatsino rescued an eagle that had bitten off more than it could chew when it tried to catch an octopus," the caption reads. "They 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."
"That was amazing. Look at the size of this s--t!" one of the workers is heard marveling at the octopus after the two are separated.
"These are the biggest octopus in the world," another says matter-of-factly.
The spectators watched for five minutes, unsure of whether or not to get involved.
"We weren't sure if we should interfere because it is mother nature, survival of the fittest," salmon farmer John Ilett told CNN. "But it was heart wrenching -- to see this octopus was trying to drown this eagle."
In the end, they decided to tag-team for the eagle, giving the octo a little tug with a hook, which allowed the normally-majestic bird to scramble away.
Some on social media criticized their decision to rob the cephalopod of its lunch.
"Am I at fault because I'm human and I felt compassion for the bird?" Ilett said. "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."
Indeed both animals lived to fight another day: after losing its prey, the octopus swam away unharmed and the eagle recovered on a branch for around 10 minutes, drying his wings and counting his lucky stars (and stripes) before flying away.
"It's moments like this why I love my job and being out in the environment where I can work and live," Ilett added. "It's just amazing."
While no longer considered endangered, Bald eagles are still a protected species. Harming one can land you in prison for two years and a $250,000 fine ... not that the octopus seemed to care.
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