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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Amazing photos capture moment seagull gulps down unsuspecting bunny (Graphic content)

Emma Jane Hade and Brian Byrne

Published 25/07/2014 | 21:57

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A young Rabbit defends itself against a Blackback gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A young Rabbit defends itself against a Blackback gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A young Rabbit tries to fight off a Black backed gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A young Rabbit tries to fight off a Black backed gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A Blackback gull swallows a young rabbit whole after killing it on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A Blackback gull swallows a young rabbit whole after killing it on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)

These amazing photos capture the moment a seagull feasted on an unsuspecting baby rabbit for lunch.

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A rare insight into the animal kingdom, the graphic images were captured on the island of Skellig Michael off the coast of Co Kerry yesterday afternoon.

The rabbit is pictured cowering as the Blackback gull stands over him. After just a split second, the large bird darts forward and snaps the bunny up.

The seagull proceeds to shake the rabbit before he swallows it whole.

But bird expert Eric Dempsey described the extraordinary attack as 'part of the natural world' and claimed the creature isn't 'a new strain of Hitchcock-type aggressive gull'.

“It's simply predators at the top of a pecking order, for the want of a better pun, doing what they have done for thousands of years,” he said.

“They will eat rats and mice if they can catch them, they will baby eat rabbits and they will eat young sea birds. They will grab them kill them and eat them"

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Mr Dempsey added that this actually helps to keep rabbit populations in check.

A young Rabbit defends itself against a Blackback gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)
A young Rabbit defends itself against a Blackback gull on Skellig Michael, Co.Kerry (Pic.Michael Kelly)

“You may have heard the expression 'breeding like rabbits'. Rabbits produce hundreds of young in their lifetime and predators are what keeps rabbit populations down.

“If you have a great black-backed gull living in an area that has a large population of rabbits, particularly young rabbits, it will of course take advantage of a food supply to kill and eat those rabbits and then feed its own chicks - that's what predators do.”

Photographer Michael Kelly had been taking pictures of puffins nearby when he noticed the seagull approaching the rabbit.

“He just plucked the little rabbit up and swallowed him whole,” he said.

“When I showed the pictures to my wife, she started crying.”

Earlier this month senator Ned O'Sullivan called for a swift clamp down on seagulls after they allegedly tried to abduct a woman's pet Chihuahua.

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