WATCH: Bald Eagle Swoops Down and Snatches Fox Carrying Meal of Its Own

by Caitlin Berard

A typical diet for a red fox consists of grasses, berries, and small rodents such as voles, hamsters, and mice. On this particular evening, however, a daring young fox in the San Juan Island National Historical Park decided to try his hand at rabbit hunting.

And though the rabbit was almost the same size as the little fox, he was successful! With the rabbit firmly clutched in his jaws, the fox happily sprinted through the meadow in search of a quiet place to enjoy his dinner.

Before he could make it to safety, however, a massive bald eagle screeched from above, soaring down toward the fox. The fox turned, saw the eagle, and attempted to change direction, but the bald eagle was every bit as agile as the fox and caught up with him anyway.

Now, let’s take a moment to talk about a bald eagle’s diet. The majestic bird normally sticks to fish. In fact, up to 90% of a bald eagle’s diet is a variety of coastal and freshwater fish, and they’re particularly fond of trout and pink salmon.

But that rabbit must have looked exceptionally tasty – because as the sun set over the American Camp prairie, the bald eagle decided he wanted it too. The best part for our winged friend? He didn’t even have to fight the fox to get it. Why fight him when he could just snatch the fox up too?

The Bald Eagle Steals the Young Fox’s Dinner

With unbelievable precision, the bald eagle swooped down and took hold of the rabbit in its talons before taking to the skies once more. But this baby fox was tenacious. Rather than surrendering his prize to the much larger, lethal eagle, he maintained an iron grip on his meal, doing his best to jerk the rabbit free.

Unfortunately for the little fox, he didn’t stand a chance against the eagle’s powerful grip. Though a bald eagle’s talons are only about half the size of a human hand, they’re ten times as strong. An eagle can exert upwards of 400 pounds of pressure per square inch with their deadly grip.

Eventually, the fox relinquished his prey, dropping to the ground from such a dangerous height that the impact created a dust cloud. Thankfully, however, though the fox was now without his dinner, he was “fine” following the horrific plunge, according to witnesses.

Kevin Ebi, a wildlife photographer who caught the entire incident on film, could hardly believe what he was seeing. “A red fox caught a rabbit and was carrying it across the meadow,” Ebi wrote on his blog. “I panned my camera with it to capture the action.”

“Then behind me, I heard the cry of a bald eagle. I turned around and saw it approaching fast. I knew it wanted the rabbit.”

“To my surprise, the scene was even more dramatic than I expected.” Ebi continued. “I thought the fox would drop the rabbit, giving the eagle an easy dinner. Instead, the fox, with its jaw still clenched on the rabbit, inadvertently got snagged by the bald eagle. The eagle lifted the young fox and rabbit into the sky triggering an even more dramatic struggle.”