A Weird Animal
He was nearly out of breath by the time he had gotten to the pool, but what he saw made his heart beat even quicker. He saw a long body coming out of the rock wall and scales. But where was its head?
Then it dawned on him. It wasn’t one animal but rather three caught in the oddest tug of war he had ever seen. He fumbled with his camera before taking the picture, but he had no idea how it would change everything.
Passion For Photography
Everyone knows how the food chain works. It’s the natural order of what animal gets eaten by what. It’s something that can’t be helped and just worked the way it is. At least that’s what Darrin Savas thought.
But one day, he would jump back after witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime-event. And he would thank the stars that he had his trusty camera by his side to snap a few photos.
Darrin Savas lived in Madhya Pradesh, India. He wasn’t the most sociable person. After graduating high school, he begged his parents to let him enroll in a photography school. After weeks of asking, they finally let him.
After taking a photography course for two years, Darrin finished and only felt his passion grow. But he had no idea how lucky he would be that he went into photography.
Always Had A Camera At His Side
Ever since Darrin had bought himself a camera, he would carry it around with him. He loved wildlife photography more than anything else. Cross that with his second favorite hobby – hiking – and it made a great combo.
He would take photos of anything while out on one of the many trails he liked to hike. But he had no idea that one day he’d be grateful he had his camera with him.
Free Lance Photography
Darrin worked as a freelance photographer. If he got lucky, he would be able to do wedding photography which would hold him over for a few months. This meant he had a lot of free time, with which he would often hike.
His favorite trail was just 15 minutes out of his city. He would always take his camera with him and wonder what he would be able to capture this time.
A Saturday Like Any Other
On a Saturday morning like any other, Darrin decided to go for a hike. He didn’t have any clients booked for the weekend, so he was happy to make the most out of his Saturday and Sunday.
He woke up early, put on his hiking boots, and grabbed his trusty Nikon. He was ready for a day full of adventure on the trail, but he’d get more than what he bargained for.
A Long Hike To The Shore
One of the reasons that Darris loved one particular trail so much was the reward he got at the end of it. The winding trail wove through the rocky hills and ended close to a large lake.
This meant that there was a shore just meters from the trail that often had amazing photo opportunities. But this time, it would be a once-in-a-lifetime sighting.
An Hour Of Hiking
It took roughly an hour of hiking to get to the end of the trail, so Darrin took many photos along the way. He would process them on his computer later and tweak the contrast, exposure, and colors to really make them pop.
It really was his passion. He knew that nature always had something amazing to surprise him with. But he had no idea that his understanding of the food chain was about to be questioned.
Getting To The Shore
Darrin took an hour and a half to get to the shore. Since he had stopped frequently to take photos, it seemed it was a great day to bring his camera. But once close to the shore, he heard something.
He heard a splashing in a pool of water near him, and he decided to sprint towards it, camera in hand. It would be a decision that would change everything.
Dozens of thoughts went through his mind as he ran up the rocky path. Was it another bird of prey snatching a fish out of the water? That had to have been the best photo he had ever taken.
He had even been able to sell that particular photo for a good amount of money. But he had no idea how different this photo would be.
Some Kind Of Animal
He was nearly out of breath by the time he had gotten to the pool. But what he saw made his heart beat even quicker. He saw a long body coming out of the rock wall and scales. But where was its head?
Then it dawned on him. It wasn’t one animal but rather three caught in the oddest tug of war he had ever seen. He fumbled with his camera before taking the picture. But he had no idea how it would change everything.
A Snake, And A Fish?
Darrin tried to understand what he was looking at. He noticed the scales along the body ending with a mouth over them. The mouth belonged to a catfish. But that wasn’t all. He kept scanning the fish’s body.
He jumped back in surprise. Attached to the body of the fish was another snake! He recognized the serpents as keelbacks.
The Strangest Thing He’d Ever Seen
Darrin was awestruck. He couldn’t believe his eyes. It was the strangest thing he’d ever seen. He was grateful he had his camera with him, but he had to watch how things would unfold.
He watched as the snake attached to the wall struggled to get the catfish off of it while the other snake clung to the bottom of the fish. What was going on? And who was the one being preyed on?
Darrin figured that the catfished must have jumped from the water and grabbed onto the first snake with its mouth. But the second snake decided to either help out its friend or just try to get an easy meal.
But just as quickly as it had begun, the struggle would be over in a matter of seconds. This would make the photos he took extra valuable.
Everyone Gets Away
Darrin watched in fascination as the struggle unfolded before his eyes. The snake at the bottom that was holding onto the fish decided to let go. Soon afterward, the fish also let go of the other snake’s head.
The catfish fell into the water and quickly swam off. The dazed snake slowly slinked back into the rocks, and Darrin was only left with the photo to prove what had happened.
They Couldn’t Believe It
The park officials couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw it. At first, they had a hard time even identifying what that animal was. It was like nothing they had ever seen before.
But then, after reading some scientific literature and pondering the different possible hypotheses for what they had just seen, there was only one explanation: after more than a hundred years, it had come back.
It Happened In Mount Rainier
Sometimes, nature surprises us in unexpected ways. Some animals are believed to have gone extinct a long time ago; but suddenly, someone spots one of those animals. And we find out that nature has been following its course away from our observation.
That’s a humbling – and even slightly scary – experience too. And that’s what took place recently in one of America’s national parks.
Stephanie Jenkins, the Superintendent of Mount Rainier National Park, expected that day to be fairly similar to the others. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, that’s a difficult question.
She still enjoyed her job, no doubt about it. But after years of taking care of the park and making sure that everything that took place in there conformed to the rules and regulations, things had gotten a little monotonous to her. Until that day.
Things Were About To Get Exciting
Her duties were comfortable, and it was fulfilling for her to think that she was helping to take care of one of America’s richest natural spaces.
But sometimes, she wished for something to happen that would shake her routine and introduce some novelty to the park’s wildlife. Little did she know that, for the better or worse, this was what was about to happen when one of the park employees knocked on her door.
One Of The Employees Had Seen Something
What could it be? “Come in,” she said. She felt amused and curious as she saw the excited, nervous, and a little bit scared face of the employee as he anxiously tip-toed through the door.
“Mrs. Jenkins, we have just seen something that… well, we don’t know what it is. It looks like an eagle, but it looks like nothing we’ve ever seen before. And checking the records, I don’t think it has ever been seen in this park either.”
One Strange Bird
It looked like the bird indeed. But there was something absolutely unusual about it: something that made the bird look like nothing she had ever seen before.
It had a beautiful, impressive orange plumage and an extraordinarily long beak. What in the world could that be? Mrs. Jenkins ordered the employees to follow it and take photos so she could examine the bird up close.
So they did. And when Mrs. Jenkins had the chance to look at the photos of the strange bird from a slightly closer distance, a sudden thought struck her mind. Could that be…? But that was impossible!
She identified the animal as a species that she had read about some time ago; some predatory bird known for its orange plumage. But there was only one detail: that species was supposed to have gone extinct more than a hundred years ago.
The Eagle’s History
That species had a fascinating history: apparently, it was brought to America from India by British settlers in the 19th century. It ate mice, rats, and even squirrels.
At the time, its orange plumage was greatly valued for decorative and ornamental purposes. For this reason, it had gone extinct both in India and in America. Or that’s what the scientific community believed up until Jenkins’ discovery. Stephanie explained her discovery in an email and sent it to every zoology department she knew.
The Scholar’s Response
Plenty of universities soon replied to Jenkins’ email. Scholars became greatly interested in Stephanie’s finding. But then, a zoologist shattered all of Stephanie’s dreams.
The zoologist shared a story about two other bright orange birds that were found in Wales, near Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. They resembled Stephanie’s bird, but not all was what it seemed.
The zoologist explained that the first bright orange bird was spotted on the side of a highway in Wales.
Everyone was astounded by the bird’s strange, beautiful color – it looked like the phoenix of myth. The bird appeared to have trouble flying, so an excited good samaritan picked it up and called Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital.
No Idea What To Expect
“When they called to say they had picked up an orange bird, we had no idea what to expect – and would never have guessed at this!” Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital posted on their Facebook page, accompanied by a photo of the strange-looking bird.
Everyone was excited that they had possibly found a new species – the bird looked like nothing anyone had ever seen before.
The photo of the beautiful blue-eyed, orange bird quickly became an internet sensation. Everyone was trying to guess what type of bird it could be.
The vets at the wildlife hospital who examined the bird said that it gave off an extremely pungent smell when they handled it. But, it turned out that the bird wasn’t an exotic new species after all.
On closer inspection, the vets concluded that the orange bird was just an ordinary herring gull – but that didn’t explain its extraordinary color.
“This is one of the strangest casualty circumstances we have seen in a while! This bright-orange herring gull was rescued by kind members of the public who spotted him at the side of the A41.”
It turned out that the herring gull had somehow managed to get himself covered in turmeric and curry spices – which also explained the smell.
“It was all over his feathers, preventing him from flying properly. We have no idea how he got into this predicament but thankfully, apart from the vibrant colour and pungent smell, he was healthy,” the hospital posted in a viral update.
The hospital staff decided to name the gull “Vinny” – after Vindaloo curry. They bathed him in washing liquid and water to clean his feathers.
“He managed to cover them in curry water, but eventually did let us scrub him clean,” they wrote. Then, they posted a photo of the bird’s dramatic transformation. But this wasn’t the first or last time a gull got too close to a vat of curry.
In 2016, another photo of a orange, curry-doused seagull went viral online. The seagull, hilariously named Gullfrazie, had fallen into a vat of chicken tikka masala while trying to scavenge some chicken from food factory waste bin.
Gullfrazie was rescued by workers at the factory and picked up by a volunteer for Vale Wildlife Hospital. When he arrived, the vets were incredulous.
According to research, seagulls are a lot smarter than people believe. Although we see them as pests that infest coastlines around the world, they are surprisingly intelligent birds that learn behaviors from other seagulls.
When one seagull with a taste for curry decided to scavenge from the waste containers around food factories in wales, others started doing it too. But what did this mean for Stephanie’s orange bird?
Seagulls can fly distances of 6,000 miles. It’s plausible that a British gull with a penchant for curry had somehow ended up in Washington and across the ocean 3,500 miles away. The zoologist’s explanation for Stephanie’s discovery fit. At first, she was shattered that what she’d seen wasn’t an extinct species. Stephanie couldn’t believe that the “rare” bird was actually a common seagull covered in turmeric. But when she finally came to grips with her embarassment and took a closer look at the photographs, she couldn’t help but laugh.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.