An Australian spear fisherman stumbled upon something a little unusual on a recent trip: a full-scale battle to the death between a snake and a fish.
Rick Trippe is no stranger to finding strange things on his sea adventures off the coast of Darwin, but even by his standards this was a whopper.
These stunning images show what looks like a fight between a deadly snake and the world’s most venomous fish.
It is believed the animals he captured on camera were the elegant sea snake and a stonefish. The pair were locked in a death match when Trippe found them, while he was diving on a World War II wreck in Darwin Harbour.
He bravely reached into the water for the two creatures and prised them apart, grabbing the snake under its mouth to avoid being bitten.
But when he put the animals back into the water, the snake launched another attack on the fish, which was killed. However, if the stonefish released its poison, the snake may well have died later.
The venom from a stonefish – which comes from the 13 spines on its back – can kill a human within two hours.
Trippe’s last major find in Darwin Harbour was two weeks ago, when he was part of a team who rescued a horse that was stranded in the water.
Of this latest incident, he told Yahoo 7 News: “I’m used to handling snakes. I grab hold of the snake behind the jaws and separate them.”
(Pictures: Rick Trippe/Yahoo 7 News)