Swimmers are shown a “once in a lifetime” sight of a sea lion fighting an octopus
A video showed a woman who went swimming in Canada had a “once in a lifetime” wildlife encounter when she noticed a sea lion fighting an octopus.
Lindsay Bryant told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that she spotted the sea lion jumping off the coast of Nanaimo before swimming on November 16. She regularly swims in the area and often encounters sea lions, but things seemed different this time.
“I actually thought the sea lion was tangled up in something,” Bryant wrote in a Nov. 16 Facebook post. “For a minute, he went into a dead float.”
“I started recording because I couldn’t figure out why a sea lion was struggling so much with what I thought was a fish,” she wrote in another Facebook post.
But when Bryant returned home and rewatched the video, she realized the sea lion wasn’t eating fish at all.
He was fighting with an octopus.
Bryant shared the video on YouTube. The 3-minute video shows the sea lion striking an octopus. The sea lion forcefully tosses the octopus away, then dives underwater and repeats the action. Seagulls circle overhead.
“It seemed like the octopus put up a really good fight! The sea lion seemed to be struggling really hard at some points,” Bryant said.
Sea lions typically eat octopuses, Andrew Traits, a marine mammal researcher at the University of British Columbia, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The challenge for the sea lion is to swallow the octopus without the octopus using its eight arms to hold the sea lion’s head while swallowing it whole,” Trites told the outlet. “The sea lion will suffocate.”
To avoid this, Trites said, sea lions “bite one arm at a time and fling the octopus’ body with all their might to tear off the arm to swallow it whole.” They do this on the surface because they can get more torque in the air than they can get underwater.
Bryant said the meet was a “fun swim.”
“I think this will be a once in a lifetime scene for me,” she wrote on Facebook.
Bryant couldn’t tell who won the fight, but she told McClatchy News via Facebook Messenger that she saw the sea lion tear off some octopus legs. The video ends with the sea lion still swimming and striking.
Nanaimo is located on Vancouver Island, about 50 miles west of Vancouver and about 200 miles northwest of Seattle.
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