Sammy Nickalls
March 03, 2015 8:40 am

Llamas, black and blue dresses, and weasels, oh my! This has been a rather exciting week in the “WTF” section of the Internet.

Now, Martin Le-May, a photographer from East London, captured this precious photo of a baby weasel on a woodpecker’s back. At first glance, this image seems to be one of the most ermahgerd animal friendships in the history of world. We can just imagine the conversation between the two cuties (because obvs they speak people English):

Weasel: “Hey, Woodpecker, I need to get over this river. Can you help?”

Woodpecker: “Sure, buddy! Hop on my back!”

And then they become the best of buddies forever and grow old together, Milo and Otis style.

Alas, this is not the case. Actually, quite the contrary: the two are enemies, and this adorbs little ride is actually a fight to the death.

Not exactly Milo and Otis.

This tweet from birder and wildlife photographer Jason Ward seems to be point zero from whence this weasel/woodpecker photo went viral.

If you’ve poked around on social media this morning, you know that things escalated quickly from there. This image is legit everywhere.

Buzzfeed News conducted an e-mail interview with Le-May in which the photographer explained just how this photo went down. Le-May explained that the moment was captured when he went on a walk through the Hornchurch Country Park in East London with his wife, who hoped to see a green woodpecker for the first time.

According to Le-May:

“As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface.

Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.

The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 meters away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.

The woodpecker left with its life. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”

So no adorbs animal friendship . . . but at least the woodpecker survived. And we have a seriously phenomenal photograph that gives us a glimpse into that forever fascinating animal kingdom.

Image via, gif via

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