snapping turtle
Photo by Melissa Brandes/Shutterstock.com

Pelican and snapping turtle duke it out on northern Ontario lake

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Who would win in a fight—a pelican or a snapping turtle? It’s an unlikely combination that you’ve probably never considered, but the two recently went head-to-head on a northern Ontario Lake.

CBC reporter and outdoor columnist Gord Ellis recorded the snapper attacking a white pelican near Lake of the Woods’ Sioux Narrows last week.

According to reports, Ellis spotted the struggle as he was getting ready to enjoy a shore lunch with his wife, friend, and the group’s fishing guide, Matt Rydberg.

As Rydberg cleaned the walleye they’d caught, he threw the leftovers to a group of nearby pelicans who hungrily gulped down the fish carcasses.

It was Ellis’ wife, Cheryl, who first noticed one of the birds frantically flapping its wings while pecking at something below the water’s surface.

When the group realized that the pelican was being attacked by a snapping turtle, Ellis pulled out his camera to capture the dramatic battle on video.

In the video, you can see the snapping turtle clamped onto the pelican’s leg—something Rydberg has never seen in the nearly 30 years he’s been on Lake of the Woods, where snappers are quite common.

Although these turtles will snap to protect themselves—since they’re not able to hide in their shells—they’re generally a shy creature, which leads us to believe this one was feeling threatened.

After a wild couple of minutes, the bird managed to free itself from the large turtle, and the two swam in opposite directions. The winner is still up for debate.

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