Though this image looks like a fantastic animal rendition of Jasmine’s magic carpet ride from Disney’s classic film, Aladdin, the photo is real. The truth behind it is somewhat more sinister.
Amateur photographer Martin Le-May visited a park in East London when he captured this truly magical moment between a weasel and a woodpecker. It is now going viral in a big way.
He managed to capture photos of the weasel, taking a magical ride on a woodpecker’s back.
Surprisingly, you may consider this incident a cute scene, but the two were not really flying together per se—the woodpecker and the baby weasel were actually fighting.
The baby weasel is trying to eat the woodpecker while the woodpecker is more interested in seeing the light of another day.
Martin happened to be in the right place at the right time. As he took some photos at Hornchurch Country Park with his wife, he saw the fight unfold right before his eyes.
He first heard a noise behind him, and when he turned around, he saw the weasel on the woodpecker’s back.
Martin told BBC News:
“I heard a distressed squawking noise and feared the worst. I soon realized it was a woodpecker with some kind of small mammal on its back.”
“I think we may have distracted the weasel as when the woodpecker landed, it managed to escape, and the weasel ran into the grass.”
Though these photos are incredibly magical, the sad aspect is that the weasel really is trying to eat the woodpecker. Eventually, the bird panicked and landed.
Luckily for the bird, the weasel noticed Martin and his wife standing there and became slightly distracted, giving the woodpecker a chance to escape narrowly with its life.
The weasel lost its meal, and the bird flew up into the surrounding trees and out of danger.
The photographer said:
“The woodpecker left with its life. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”
As their name suggests, weasels are fearless for robbing nests. Most likely, that’s exactly what this baby weasel was attempting to do, though he certainly didn’t anticipate the bird to put up such an incredible fight.
According to wildlife expert Lucy Cooke:
“The green woodpecker is a ground-feeding bird, but weasels normally attack rabbits. The woodpecker is not its usual prey. But weasels are fearless.”
“A female weasel weighs less than a Mars Bar but is as ferocious as a lion, so this is why the woodpecker would have been able to take off with it on its back.”