B.C. residents were treated to an epic sight this week when a harbour seal and a giant pacific octopus engaged in a battle royale off Victoria’s Ogden Point. Crowds quickly gathered to witness the extremely rare event, which took place just a metre or two off shore.
Bob Ianson was on hand with his wife, daughter, grandson, and—luckily for us—a camera.
To the untrained observer, it appears that the octopus has the seal on the ropes in the first image. Weighing up to 15 kilograms, it is a powerful creature of the deep. But the reality is that seals regularly eat octopuses and in fact the tentacled gladiator doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Still, it holds on for dear life as the seal dives and twists in the water, attempting to dislodge its opponent.
Ianson remarked that “It was almost like the seal was bringing the octopus up the surface to show off what he had.”
A representative from the Vancouver Aquarium noted that while seals regularly chow down on octopus, “actually capturing it on film is the rare thing.”
Thanks to Ianson for these up-close-and-personal photographs of the struggle between mammal and cephalopod.
This was actually the second octopus/harbour seal encounter to be captured at Ogden Point. The first was recorded on video, which you can see below.