Weasel snapped taking flight on back of woodpecker

Weasel snapped taking flight on back of woodpecker
Photo by Martin Le-May, taken from BBC

Nature photography buffs, this is one picture you would have wished you snapped.

An amateur photographer from Essex, north-east of London took a picture of a weasel riding on the back of a green woodpecker as the bird flew through the air.

First reported in BBC, Martin Le-May said he captured the moment when he was on a walk with his wife, Ann.

The bird had apparently made a distressed noise, which caused Mr Le-May to take a second look. 

He told BBC: "I think we may have distracted the weasel as when the woodpecker landed it managed to escape and the weasel ran into the grass."

Wildlife experts have called the photo 'extraordinary'.

The photo has since been shared thousands of times on social media.

The weasel, which is identified as a least weasel (Mustela nivalis), by National Geographic, is a type of mammal. The weasel is described as a small, active predator that is long and slender with small legs.

The European green woodpecker is a bird that spends a lot of its time foraging for ants on the ground, making an attack by a ferocious predator like the weasel likely.

Wildlife presenter Steve Backshall told BBC that the woodpecker is similar to insects such as leaf cutter ants and rhino beetles, which can carry up to 850 times its weight.

Is the photo real?

Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire, doesn't think it could have been faked.

In an interview with National Geographic, the professor said the weasel hugging the woodpecker would make forging the image very challenging.


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