UPDATE (3:29 PST, September 01, 2015): Some speculate that the fish involved in this ocean duel is not a stonefish, but rather a frogfish in the genus Batrachomoeus. Despite being called "stonefishes" in some regions, these fish do not posses potent venom. It's still up for debate, but if true, this could mean the lucky snake lived to see another day. We'll keep you posted as more details come to light!

Well here’s a battle for the books ... while diving off the coast of Australia last week, spear fisherman Rick Trippe came across an unusual sighting: a sea snake and what appears to be a stonefish locked in a deadly embrace. Trippe was diving on a Word War II wreck in Darwin Harbour when he found the animals entwined in battle.

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Trippe went on to fish the venomous creatures out of the water (a move marine conservationists would disapprove of), clutching the snake below its mouth. "I'm silly but not mad. I knew this was dangerous. I knew if I grabbed it I wouldn't get bitten," Mr Trippe told BBC News. After prising the animals apart and posing for a few photos, Trippe released them back into the ocean. "I could hear the fish croaking so I let them both go, but the snake made a beeline back to the fish," he added.

According to reports, the sea snake came out on top and managed to kill the stonefish shortly after the release. However, the stonefish may yet get its revenge – spines on its back can release a potent neurotoxic venom that could prove fatal for this ambitious snake.

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Images © Rick Trippe, used with permission.