Photo of Weasel “Riding” Woodpecker Takes Internet by Storm, Spawns Spin-Off Memes

Photography is a massive worldwide industry, employing about 224,893 people in the U.S. alone. But it’s an amateur photo snapped in Essex, England, that’s currently taking the Internet by storm.

The photo in question shows a weasel “riding” on the back of a woodpecker, and was taken by Martin Le-May, who captured the moment while on a walk in the park with his wife, Ann.

Of course, as experts have pointed out, the woodpecker isn’t simply giving the weasel a lift. “If you’ve heard of the term fight or flight, this is a rare case of fight and flight,” Business Insider quipped March 2. “The weasel wasn’t really riding the bird but trying to eat it.”

Weasels are nest-robbers, and often attack prey much larger than themselves. The green woodpecker shown in the photograph is not among the weasel’s usual prey — rabbits are more common — but wildlife experts say it’s entirely possible even a small weasel might attempt to take a woodpecker down.

One such expert, Lucy Cooke, told the BBC that weasels are “fearless.” She added that a female weasel actually weighs less than a candy bar, which is why it would be possible for the woodpecker to take off with the small mammal on its back.

Eventually, according to Le-May, the woodpecker landed and a struggle ensued; the woodpecker was able to escape when the weasel became distracted by Le-May and his wife.

“The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry,” Le-May told various outlets.

Of course, as often happens online, some people had some fun manipulating the image to create their own memes. Ones featuring prominent soccer player John Terry, Miley Cyrus and cartoon character Buzz Lightyear have all become popular. However, the general consensus appears to be that the best version is one in which a shirtless Vladimir Putin has been inserted so it appears that he is riding the weasel that is, in turn, still riding the woodpecker. Most of these memes have been shared under the hashtag #WeaselPecker.

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