A picture captivated the Internet on Monday.
In Essex, England, on Monday, East London resident Martin Le-May captured this incredible photo, as well as others, of a baby weasel riding on the back of a green woodpecker. Unfortunately, it’s not the tale of the two unlikely friends going on an epic adventure that you may have believed initially.
It’s a photo of a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker.
Le-May, a hobby photographer, spoke to BuzzFeed about capturing the moment he described as “the struggle for life”
As Le-May was taking a walk with his wife through the Hornchurch Country Park in East London in the hopes of her seeing a green woodpecker for the first time, they heard a distressed squawking and saw a flash of green.
As they situated themselves in the grass and took out their binoculars to get a closer look, they saw a woodpecker who was “unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface.”
Le-May switched from his binoculars to his camera just in time to see the bird fly near them, making it suddenly clear that it had a baby weasel on its back and the bird was fighting for its life.
When the woodpecker landed in front of the couple, their presence momentarily distracted the weasel, leading the woodpecker to seize the opportunity and fly away into some bushes then into the trees and away from their site.
“The woodpecker left with its life. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry,” Le-May said.
Wildlife expert Lucy Cooke told BBC, “The green woodpecker is a ground-feeding bird, but weasels normally attack rabbits. The woodpecker is not its usual prey.” But she explained that weasels are “fearless” and “ferocious as a lion.”
Wildlife presenter Steve Backshall added that the weasel “can kill things much bigger than itself, so it’s an impressive little creature when you think about its size.”
And of course, the internet made this viral photo into plenty of hilarious memes for the world to enjoy.
John Travolta is all over the weasel and the woodpecker pic.twitter.com/HMxoDInWbh
— Elliot Wagland (@elliotwagland) March 3, 2015
— Olly Gibbs (@ollyog) March 3, 2015
— The Poke (@ThePoke) March 3, 2015
— Ben Lloyd (@Techwriteuk) March 3, 2015
— AngryBritain.com (@AngryBritain) March 3, 2015