In 2012 footage was caught of a snowy owl dancing with an Arctic fox. Were they playing or was there more to their uncharacteristic actions?
When tourists visit the outer reaches of the Arctic they likely have a few things in mind when it comes to animals they'd like to see in the wild. First and foremost for the majority of people, of course, will be polar bears, the most fascinating of all the animals to live among the snowy tundras.
Back in 2012, some tourists visiting Hudson Bay, Canada got to witness a sight even rarer than catching a glimpse of a polar bear. Over the course of a week, there were a number of sightings of snowy owls and Arctic foxes. Pretty unimpressive so far, right? Well, if you take a look at the video below you'll discover why the sightings of these animals were so interesting at this particular moment in time.
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The fox and the owl appear to be dancing with one another, not two animals you would normally label as being the best of friends. David Briggs of Arctic Kingdom, and the man who shot the video said that at times it appeared that the owl was going as far as to taunt and goad the fox. Recently, National Geographic revisited the strange phenomenon and approached some experts in the hope that they might shed some light on the matter.
Anders Angerbjorn, the leader of the Swedish Arctic Fox Project, believes that it is highly unlikely that the two were playing. Instead, the interaction between the two was probably something to do with rivalry. Both animals are known to eat lemmings and would have been trying to scare each other away for what was seemingly a spot rich with the rodents.
Angerbjorn also went on to clarify that although the two of them were competing against one another, interactions such as these rarely lead to one animal killing the other. While most would probably pick the fox to win in a fight between the two, but because of them both being similar in size it would actually be an extremely even affair. He also explained that Snowy Owls are more than capable of defending themselves and have been known to attack humans and even polar bears.