Lindsay Bryant was preparing for a swim when a sea lion thrashing within the water close by caught her consideration.
“At first I assumed, ‘Oh, he is simply catching fish,'” the Nanaimo, B.C., lady stated. “Then I form of noticed him struggling a bit … in order that’s once I pulled out my telephone.”
Bryant watched this go on for about 5 minutes, nevertheless it wasn’t till she was again at dwelling and was capable of zoom in on the footage that she realized what she had witnessed.
“I used to be like, ‘Oh, my God. That is loopy,” she stated. “It was an octopus.”
Thursday’s battle between the aquatic mammal and eight-limbed mollusc occurred simply south of Nanaimo, which is about 110 kilometres north of Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Bryant, who swims a number of occasions per week, says sea lions are a near-daily sight however she’s by no means seen an octopus — not to mention a sea lion preventing with one.
Your entire occasion occurred about 100 metres from the place she was standing, and he or she may hear the ocean lion respiration closely and recurrently disappearing under the floor solely to return up once more, typically tossing the octopus throughout the water.
“I really thought that the ocean lion was at risk…. It simply wasn’t regular behaviour.”
Two species of sea lions inhabit Vancouver Island — Steller sea lions, which breed within the north, and California sea lions, which breed within the south. Every is a sort of pinniped, a bunch of aquatic mammals that additionally contains seals and walruses.
Each Steller and California sea lions might be seen in Nanaimo, however the Steller is bigger and darker.
Andrew Trites, director of the marine mammal analysis unit on the College of British Columbia, stated in an e-mail to CBC Information that — based mostly on her footage — Bryant witnessed a Steller consuming a big octopus.
Trites additionally stated whereas octopi are frequent prey for Steller sea lions, it’s uncommon for this form of encounter to be caught on movie.
“The problem for a sea lion is to swallow an octopus with out the octopus utilizing its eight arms to seize onto the ocean lion’s head whereas it’s being swallowed entire,” he stated. “The ocean lion would suffocate.”
“The ocean lion’s resolution is to chew down onto one arm at a time and fling the octopus’ physique with all its power to tear off an arm to swallow entire. They do it on the floor as a result of they will get extra torque in air than they will underwater.”
Bryant says, trying again, she does recall seeing smaller chunks being thrown round that on the time she thought might need been fish however “which I am guessing was octopus legs, sadly.”
Octopi can combat again in different methods, as nicely. In 2010, the Alaska Division of Fish and Recreation printed an account of a Steller sea lion dismembering an estimated 25-pound octopus — an occasion captured by marine biologist Sherry Tamone, who stated it seemed to be a troublesome combat.
“The octopus can wrap itself across the head of the ocean lion and it will possibly chew fairly fiercely. Their beak seems a bit like that of a parrot and every chew delivers some nasty chemical compounds,” she is quoted as saying within the article.
Her account mimics that seen by Bryant, with the ocean lion struggling over a number of minutes with its opponent.
“It was virtually gasping for air, prefer it was attempting to remain above the floor,” Bryant recalled.
Different sea lion versus octopus battles
There have been different memorable pinniped versus octopus battles captured elsewhere on the planet, too.
In 2010, Nationwide Geographic captured video which confirmed an Australian sea lion dragging a big octopus to the floor so she will be able to breathe whereas slowly consuming it chew by chew.
And in 2018 footage of a New Zealand fur seal smacking a kayaker with an octopus went viral, although Colleen Reichmuth, who heads up the College of California Santa Cruz’s Pinniped Lab, advised NPR it’s regular for the animals to smack bigger prey round as a way to devour them and it probably had nothing to do with the boat being close by.
A memorable second
Bryant’s undecided what occurred to both animal, although she is fairly certain the ocean lion gained — however not with no good bit of pushback from the octopus.
“I undoubtedly suppose it put up an excellent combat,” she stated.
She says she has had many memorable encounters with ocean life, however this one stands out for the way stunning it was.
“It was simply loopy,” she stated. “I used to be actually sitting on my sofa and I could not consider it once I zoomed in. I am like, ‘No means,’ as a result of it simply made a lot sense how all the pieces went down.
“I want, trying again now, that I knew precisely what was happening, nevertheless it was form of a neat shock in the long run.”