Norfolk photographer captures amazing image of seal with a pike in its mouth

Clive Eaton captured this photo of a seal with a pike in its mouth on the River Bure. Picture: Clive

Clive Eaton captured this photo of a seal with a pike in its mouth on the River Bure. Picture: Clive Eaton @CliveEaton - Credit: Archant

One is renowned as among the Broads' most ferocious predators, the other as a notoriously voracious sea creature.

But when a pike met a seal there was only ever going to be one winner.

The unusual encounter - between two species which would not normally mingle - took place on the river Bure close to St Benet's Abbey, a remarkable 16 miles inland.

It was captured on camera by Clive Eaton, who said the tussle between the two lasted for a few minutes.

'It had a pike in its mouth and was fighting with it for quite a few minutes, plus diving frequently to avoid all the boats on the river,' he said.

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The seal involved is thought to be a male grey seal, commonly found along the coast. Peter Ansell, chairman of the Friends of Horsey Seals, said they the creatures were as happy in freshwater as in saltwater and tended to 'follow their noses'.

Sightings on the Broads are said to be more common on the southern rivers - which cross Breydon Water - and more of a rarity on northern rivers such as the Bure.

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Mr Ansell said they were occasional visitors to the waterways.

'It is rare, yes, but it's definitely not the first time,' he said. 'On one occasion when I used to have a boat we were quite a way up to Norwich and saw a seal bobbing about.

'They are quite happy in freshwater, almost as much as they are in saltwater. Once they are in the water they just go with the tide and if there's fish there they are happy,' he added.

On the river Ouse, they have spotted feasting on freshwater fish as far up river as Ely, more than 30 miles inland.

Mr Ansell said it would be difficult to identify the seal with any certainty, but that it looked too big to be a common seal and was more likely to be a grey bull seal.

Have you had an unusual sighting on the Broads? Email

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