WATCH: Pit Viper Unsuccessfully Tries To Attack a Great Horned Owl

by Jon D. B.

Welcome to the Thunderdome: also known as nature, where diamondback rattlesnakes and great horned owls do battle.

What would you do if you were starving? It’s a question no one ever wants to contend with. But for this pit viper, the answer is clear: eat or die.

That might as well be nature’s motto, one that’s perfectly showcased in this insane trail cam footage. Courtesy of Arizona wildlife photographer The Desert Whisperer, Outsiders can now see exactly what happens when a desperate rattlesnake goes after a great horned owl. And it does not disappoint.

While watching, keep in mind that great horned owls are the largest owl species in North America. There a favorite species of this Outsider and wildlife tech, and I’ve seen their near-5-foot wingspan in action many times. But is this immense size enough to deter a hungry rattler? Not at all:

Nature account NatureIsMetal shares this killer clip over on their Instagram, where it’s near 1 million views currently. Rightly so, as this Great horned owl gets jumped by a pit viper encounter is one for the ages.

According to their post, “The consensus surrounding this clip seems to be, that the diamondback was most likely starving and so desperate for a win that it lashed out at the owl without a second thought.”

This checks out. Animals will do just about anything other than starve – including us humans. This is what led that raccoon to chew on your grandpa’s electric wiring in the attic. It’s also most likely what caused this diamondback rattlesnake to lash out at a fellow predator far outside its typical prey size.

The Great Escape: Great Horned Owl Wins Battle, But the War?

As we see in The Desert Whisperer‘s showcase, the owl gets away seemingly unscathed. But how long his escape-bound flight lasts is entirely up to how much venom this desperate pit viper decided to inject.

At first, it looks like the rattler lands his bite on the owl’s primary wing feathers. This won’t do anything but inconvenience the owl. It would take a hard latch onto the body with both fangs to kill the owl. By the end of their battle, the snake looks to have accomplished this.

Pit vipers, to a large extent, can control the amount of venom they inject. If their intent is to scare, then they may deliver a “dry bite” that doesn’t envenomate. Venom is a precious resource, and one vipers don’t waste unless they intend to kill. But this desperate fellow is in 100% kill mode.

If he managed to land a deadly bite and inject venom to kill, then this owl is dead off in the forest somewhere. The rattler clearly wanted this great horned for a meal.

Or, as NatureIsMetal summarizes: “The fact is, hunger has a way of overpowering common sense, so when curing it becomes your prime directive and the failure to do so will have dire consequences, irrationality and fearlessness take the wheel and steer even the most reserved being into the great unknown.”

What a capture.