It was bald eagle vs. octopus in what was likely to be a battle to the death. Then a group of Canadians intervened. The salmon farmers were on the water near Quatsino, BC, at the northwest tip of Vancouver Island on Monday when they heard "a lot of splashing and a screeching sound," John Ilett tells the Victoria Times Colonist. What they discovered, as seen in a viral video: a half-submerged bald eagle, wings spread, wrapped in the tentacles of a large, red octopus. "I've seen octopus and I've seen eagles, but I've never seen them grappling like that," says Ilett, who describes the octopus as more than four feet long and trying to drown the eagle. The farmers watched the action for five minutes, debating whether to intervene, then decided "we couldn't just stand there."
The video shows the animals being pulled to the boat with a pole and hook. Footage next shows the eagle on a branch close to shore as the octopus swims away. "We saved that eagle!" a voice says. Ilett says the crew was able to peel the octopus off the eagle, who swam to shore, then flew off after 10 minutes. The bird seemed to have "bitten off more than it could chew when it tried to catch an octopus," the crew's employer, Mowi Canada West, wrote on Facebook. Global News reports bald eagles often skim the water's surface looking for food and "it's possible that this one mistook the octopus for an easy meal." "At the end of the day both animals are alive and well," Ilett tells CNN. "We feel pretty good about what we did." (Read more strange stuff stories.)