Canoeist saves duck from snapping turtle’s death grip

Two canoeists paddled upon an unlikely showdown in the Winnipeg’s Seine River: A snapping turtle versus a mallard duck.

When Alan Haley and Melissa Vandall discovered the fight, it was already well underway—and very one-sided. The snapping turtle chomped down on the duck’s foot, attempting to pull it under water. Wings flapping furiously, the duck desperately tried to flee.

With his GoPro handy, Haley caught the whole thing on video.

“The turtle was biting him right on the toe, trying to drag him under water,” Haley told CTV.

If we were the betting types, our money would have been on the snapping turtle. But Haley, obviously a softie for the underdog, saw potential in the duck.

“The duck had too much fight in him to let the situation be,” wrote Haley on his YouTube video. “So we made sure he got free.”

With his paddle, Haley attempted to open the turtle’s mouth. But the turtle was a fighter, and wasn’t going to give up his lunch so easily. He hung on as Haley flipped his body over and continually poked his shell. Meanwhile, the duck stopped moving – perhaps transcending into a zen state of acceptance.

Then, after a full-minute of prodding, the turtle finally lost his grip and the duck zoomed away.

While many view Haley as a hero, some detractors are siding with the turtle.

“Some people are saying we did the right thing. A few people are throwing in there, maybe even as a joke, that the turtle went hungry that night, but I don’t think he’d have much of a meal out of that foot anyway.”

Known for their fierce dispositions, snapping turtles feast on everything from plants to fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals.

Yet James Duncan, director of the Wildlife and Fisheries of Manitoba Conservation, says this particular turtle’s thirst for fresh duck was uncommon.

“To see something like that in nature is not commonplace,” Duncan told CTV. “So [Haley and Vandall] witnessed something that would be one of the extreme ends of the behavior of the snapping turtle.”