A fisherman in Missouri was fishing in his pond recently, when he reeled in something a little bigger than his normal catches. After reeling in a bass fish from his parents' eight-acre pond, Monroe MacKinney took a look inside to see why the fish was quite so heavy.
When he opened up the fishes mouth, he saw the cause. A mole was lodged inside the fish, and it looked like it was trying to claw its way out.
When Mr MacKinney first saw the eastern mole, it shocked him. Probably because nobody expects to see a mole inside a fish.
"[The eastern mole] scared me a little, went to take my lure [out] and [I] almost dropped the fish... thought it was a turtle," Monroe wrote, posting the image to his Instagram account.
MacKinney soon realized that the mole was dead, and had died in an attempt to crawl out of the fish's mouth. When the photo went viral on Instagram, people asked him if this is kind of thing happens often.
"Not to my knowledge," MacKinney replied.
"I've caught fish that had eaten crawdads, other fish, and unknown rotten things sticking out. But I've never seen a mammal [this] well preserved and visible. I even googled 'bass eats mole' and nothing compared to the photo I took.
"My best guess is the heavy rains may have pushed him out. Or a big bird like a hawk, great blue heron, or an eagle which are all common in Missouri dropped it in the water. The birds will drop the live rodents in the water to use as a trap to catch a bigger meal."
Dana Krempels, a senior lecturer at the University of Miami, jumped in to explain on Instagram that this species of mole can swim, even though they don't actively seek out lakes and ponds as a habitat.
"It wouldn't be too surprising for a large-mouth bass to prey upon a mole it happened upon."
She also suggested that moles caught in a bass might even stand a fighting chance.
"Moles have very powerful forelegs, and if the poor little guy had not drowned, he might have been able to claw his way out of the fish."