Thats Life, and Death!

30th November 2010
Being a wildlife photographer I am always open to try and grab an opportunity to get out with the camera. The recent snow lead to my daughters school closing, and this suddenly presented me with a chance to get out for a snowy walk, and of course the camera came along.

We went out to specifically look for signs of row deer and brown hares, and although we saw plenty of prints in the snow we didn't see them in the flesh. On the way back we spotted a stoat tearing around in the snow. He was clearly hunting for the many rabbits that reside in this old gravel quarry.

We moved into a position to get pictures, however, by this time the stoat had disappeared. From experience I knew that if we waited a while the stoat may be back. Ten minutes later we would have been hard pressed to see him anyway as the snow had begun to bucket down and we could hardly see.

I decided that we needed to get under cover, but as we got up I noticed the stoat racing around betwen the old garages on the site. Bent double we hurried over, and it was then we noticed a rabbit racing towards us. Unfortunately for him he decided that we where more of a threat and turned and raced off into the area where we had just seen the stoat. Like a flash the stoat met the rabbit head on and what followed was a five minute wrestle for life where there was only going to be one winner. The stoat had managed to clamp its jaws at the back of the rabbits neck and although the rabbit tried several times to get away he eventually lost the fight.

Although this can be sad to witness, you soon realise as a photographer that this is just life and death in the animal kingdom. It also makes you realise how deadly a killer the stoat is. For an african lion to be as impressive it would probably have to despatch a fully grown elephant alone, and then drag it away!


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