Why This ‘Weasel Riding a Woodpecker’ Isn’t as Cute as It Looks

This morning, I woke up to seeing this photo and was instantly amazed.

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I thought to myself, That’s one smart weasel. And that woodpecker? How nice of him to give the little guy a ride to wherever he’s headed.

The naive child that still lives deep within my core wanted me to believe that these two are the best of buds, each with the best of intentions. But later at the office, I shared the photo with a friend who instantly blurted out, “Weasels eat woodpeckers!”

I looked at the photo again and laughed at my initial take on it. Yep, the poor woodpecker was completely horrified.

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This photo was taken by amateur photographer Martin Le-May, who reports he heard a horrible sound and quickly realized the weasel was trying to capture the woodpecker. He first captured these two pics.

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The truth of the matter is that weasels are nest-robbers. These critters are set on eating woodpeckers and other birds for lunch… and dinner too.

Before the art of photography, one painting from the 13th century captures a weasel attempting to bite the neck of a basilisk. The basilisk is a mythical creature, but the painting undoubtedly drives this point home — weasels aren’t sweet little creatures. Especially when you’re a woodpecker roaming free in the woods!

weasel attacking basilisk

Martin Le-May reported that the woodpecker was finally able to free itself from the clutches of the weasel.

When the bird landed near him, he believes the weasel became distracted and the woodpecker seized its opportunity, “gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight”.

Le-May told ITV news: “The woodpecker left with its life, the weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”

My child within is very happy with that result. Click here to see the explosion Le-May’s photograph made in the Twitterverse. Below is a video of the most popular memes that have come about since this image went viral.