Caught on camera: Rodent's last stand against hungry silver fox
A rare shot of a silver fox staring down a vole was captured by St. John’s photographer Carol Ann Ryan – who said she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. (carol_ann_ryan_photography/Instagram)
Jeremiah Rodriguez, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Sunday, March 3, 2019 11:38AM EST
St. John’s photographer Carol Ann Ryan knew she was snapping something rare during her hike at the top of Signal Hill in St. John’s.
After silently following a silver fox for a few minutes, the fox suddenly stopped in its tracks. Then it quickly began chasing a small vole along the trail before the two creatures confronted each other – all of which Ryan caught on camera.
That’s when Ryan, a retired nurse, knelt down and captured the moment the vole stood on its hind legs -- almost as if it was pleading for mercy -- right before it was gobbled up by the fox.
“It was like he was looking at the vole, just sizing him up [and thinking] about how much more he had to deal with him,” she laughed during a phone interview with CTVNews.ca.
“It was freezing cold, it was - 13, plus wind chill and I had done a little walk … and then I saw him come up the field,” Ryan said. “I was just trying to keep my lens steady and capture what I was seeing.”
Ryan, a self-described “animal fanatic,” knew the Feb. 23 moment was a rarity because foxes normally flee with their prey after capturing it. “It did work out, thankfully -- the light was coming up perfectly,” she said.
She'd spotted a silver fox back in January but hadn’t seen one since. “I was kind of persistent. I had to see them again,” she said.
Once she ‘d spotted the fox in the bush that morning, Ryan made sure to be as quiet as possible -- making sure to mirror the fox’s actions, including stopping whenever the fox did.
She’s been interested in photography for most of her life -- more so since her retirement four years ago.
Ryan calls photography her “passion” and said every day she sets out to pick up at least one new photography skill. She regulalrly showcases her photos on her Instagram page.
She attributes her quick reflexes to her experience photographing the fast movements during her daughter’s ballet practices. “I think that’s why I have almost a sense of action [and] the feeling of when I should press the shutter,” she said.
Ryan loves photographing at the national historic site of Signal Hill in particular because of area’s wildlife and the way the early-morning sun can hit her subjects.
Morning Hunt. I braved the -13 temperature this morning hoping I would see a fox. I haven’t seen them them in almost three weeks, and what do you know.... there he was.... on the hunt for breakfast. I know it’s a little vole and I love all animals, but I have to look at it as Nature and it is their instinct for survival. This is the wild in its truest form. #newfoundlandwildlife #wildlifeonearth #wildlife_seekers #wildlifeaddicts #wildlifeplanet #fox #foxesofinstagram #shots_of_animals #fox.community #wildlifephotography #wildlifephotographyofinstagram #natgeowild #splendid_shotz #natgeo #sharecangeo #canada #canadiananimals
This was seconds after I had seen the silver fox.... He spotted the vole and was doing his hunting skills of jumping. On both sides of his hips the fur was flattened down. I’m guessing he was in his den all night and had just gotten up for breakfast. This was just after sunrise and you can see the light coming from the left side. #fox #silverfox #naturesbestphotomagazine #natgeowild_hd #foxesofig_love #photooftheday #wild #wildlife #wildlife_vision #wildlifephotography #natgeo #cangeo #sharecangeo #newfoundland #newfoundlandandlabrador #canada #canada_photolovers #explorecanada #explorenewfoundland #naturesbestphotomagazine