Seal sucker punches kayaker in the face with an octopus

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It rarely gets more bizarre than this: a group of kayakers were having a grand old time in the waters of New Zealand when one of them was suddenly smacked in the face by a seal that threw an octopus at him.

The man who was sucker-punched in glorious fashion, Kyle Mulinder, revealed that he and his mates were kayaking off the coast of Kaikoura when a seal – believed to be a New Zealand fur seal that are from the same family as sea lions – emerged from the water and slapped him the face with an octopus.

The wild incident was caught on camera by Taiyo Masuda who posted the video on social media earlier this week. The jaw-dropping clip quickly went viral online:

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新しい @gopro #Hero7Black で衝撃映像撮れた🤣🤣 4K60fpsの安定化オンで撮ったからここまで驚いて全部撮れてた!こんな楽しいカヤックはじめて!!音声も海とかのガチャガチャ音ないし最高! @barekiwi getting octopus smashed into his face by a seal⁉️ I’ve never had such an amazing kayak everrrrr!! I am super stoked that the new @goproanz #Hero7Black captured without missing a thing although we shook so much, #hypersmooth the stabilisation managed it so well!! I made a little montage to show how good the audio came out!! No noises super clean!! Thanks to @kaikourakayaks @purenewzealand @kaikouranz @goprojp @howtodadnz @snapair for such an epic trip!! #gopro #ゴープロ #ゴープロのある生活

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Mulinder later told Yahoo 7 News that he and his mates had been observing the seal and the octopus fighting for sometime before the animals disappeared deeper underwater. Suddenly, the seal broke the surface of the water and smashed Mulinder’s face with his opponent:

“He thrashed it in mid fight and my face happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was like, ‘Mate, what just happened?’ It was weird because it happened so fast but I could feel all the hard parts of the octopus on my face like ‘dum dum dum.’”

The octopus continued to cling to Mulinder’s kayak after the attack until it was pried off and coaxed back into the sea by an instructor in the group.

Wildlife experts responding to the video have shared that the seal likely mistook Mulinder for a rock as it likely wanted to stun the octopus by bringing it above surface and bashing it against a hard surface. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research said:

“Seals will often try and get their prey out of the water and above the surface to gain the upper hand in a tussle.

“Once out of the water they will try flinging them about to stun them. At that point it is normal for a seal to try to fling the octopus against a hard object to tear the octopus apart. So to the seal, the kayaker seemed like a reasonable enough object.”