And the world's luckiest otter is... 

Eagle vs otter-gif-2016-3-11

The unsuspecting Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra) almost loses its hard-earned meal (and becomes briefly airborne) when a thieving white-tailed eagle swoops by. The close call was caught on camera on Scotland's Isle of Mull, and posted online by the Mull Otter Group

The country's second-largest island, the Isle of Mull is home to a variety of creatures, including healthy populations of both otters and eagles. Island life naturally means a fish-packed diet – and as often happens in nature, a shared taste for fishy delights sometimes leads to a bit of competition.

The white-tailed eagle is one of the biggest in the world, with females, which are typically larger, weighing up to 15 pounds (almost 7kg)! To support that hefty frame, the birds have impressive wingspans that can reach up to 8 feet (2,4m). And although these raptors have been known to hunt mammals the size of housecats, stealing fish from otters is much easier than hunting the otters themselves.

“Individual eagles may try to harass an otter into giving up its catch before it reaches the shore,” writes the group's Stuart Gibson. “And, on one occasion, [I've] seen several immature white-tailed eagles gang up on an otter, in the hope of intimidating the animal into relinquishing its food." 

Although this behaviour is not uncommon, Gibson says seeing it firsthand – and capturing it on film – should rank as a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any wildlife enthusiast. (We're pretty sure the otter hopes it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, too!)

And as if lunch-stealing eagles weren't enough, it seems the island's hooded crows have learned that pesky persistence can earn them a share of the spoils as well!


Top header image: Sara Long/Flickr