Video captures showdown between snowy owl and red fox on Ontario pier

Fox and owl square off on Cobourg pier

A video capturing a showdown between a snowy owl and a red fox in Cobourg, Ont., has gone viral.

Town spokesperson Ashley Purdy says on the morning of Jan. 4, a town employee noticed fresh animal tracks on the pier at the town’s marina overlooking Lake Ontario.

“She decided to check our security cameras and couldn’t believe what she had found,” said Purdy.

READ MORE: ‘Tahoe’ the owl expected to recover after getting trapped in SUV grille in Sask.

The video recorded around 2 a.m. shows a small red fox trotting along the pier when suddenly the owl swoops down from behind,  startling the animal briefly.

Unfazed, the fox continues to walk along the pier when the owl lands on the pier. Over the next couple of minutes, the curious fox paces back and forth, inching closer to the owl, which maintains its position.

Story continues below advertisement

Finally, the fox gives up and runs off.

“There is a fox den along the waterfront,” said Purdy. “We know there are two pups that have been spotting playing. That was likely one them in the video.”

Purdy says she and staff did some research which discovered snowy owls are known to steal prey from Arctic foxes and also feed on smaller animals such as hares, rabbits and prairie dogs.

“Perhaps the owl was targeting that fox,” she said.

READ MORE: Caught on camera: Owl snags rat from Kelowna driveway

Area photographers have captured other images of a snowy owl around the harbour but it’s not known how many may be around, said Purdy.

Purdy said the video is trending worldwide and has more than 165,000 views on Facebook alone since it was posted last week.