Seal smacks kayaker across the face with large octopus

‘I’m not sure who got more of a surprise - the seal, the octopus or me,’ says marine adventurer

Adam Forrest
Thursday 27 September 2018 14:30 BST
Seal slaps kayaker in face with octopus in New Zealand

A kayaker relaxing in the waters surrounding New Zealand’s South Island has captured a strange and unexpected encounter with local sea life.

Kyle Mulinder was paddling off the coast of Kaikōura when a seal emerged from the water and slapped him across the face with a large octopus.

Mr Mulinder and his friends had been watching a group of seals beneath the surface, and spotted one of the larger males wrestling with an octopus.

The slippery mammal popped up with the eight-limbed mollusc trapped in its jaws and whipped it towards the unsuspecting kayaker.

“I was like, “Mate, what just happened?”” Mr Mulinder told the Seven News network in Australia. “It was weird because it happened so fast but I could feel all the hard parts of the octopus on my face.”

“I’m not sure who got more of a surprise - the seal, the octopus or me,” he added.

The octopus managed to survive its confrontation with man and seal, suctioning onto the underside of Mr Mulinder’s kayak before it was detached with an oar. It then drifted back underwater.

Mr Mulinder, who works for GoPro, had a camera attached to his watercraft. He and his friend Taiyo Masuda – who was also filming – both shared the moment on Instagram.

“We instantly started laughing, we certainly got surprised,” Mr Masuda told CNN. “We are all adventure guys but we don’t encounter that every day. Such a raw moment brought us so much laughter to all of us all day long. What a day to remember.”

Seals’ main diet is comprised of fish, but they are known to eat larger creatures such as squid and octopus.

Rochelle Constantine, associate professor at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland, said it was possible the seal in the video was only trying to rip off a tentacle and did not intend to hit Mr Mulinder in the face.

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