Australia is known for its wildlife, but chances are you've never seen a whale offer another creature a piggy back ride.
Australians live in constant vigilance lest they run into a giant spider or a massive crocodile, but occasionally the wildlife down under can prove to be not so scary at all. According to a report from the Huffington Post, an Australian photographer snapped a jaw-dropping photo of a seal hitching a ride on the back of a humpback whale.
Photographer Robyn Malcolm snapped the shot while she was out whale watching near Eden, New South Wales. Caught up in the midst of a feeding frenzy, where whales gather to gorge themselves on a massive school of fish, plankton or krill, Malcolm didn’t even realize the seal was in the photo until she examined the shot the next day.
Whale expert from New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Geoff Ross explained that while it is certainly uncommon to see a seal taking advantage of a whale’s size in this fashion, he believes there is an explanation for the behavior.
As whales gather to feed, they push schools of bait into tight balls called “shoals,” which makes it easier to capture the most food in a single pass. Ross believes that the seal was simply waiting for an opportunity to jump into the feast and catch some dinner of his own.
Whales abound in the Eden region in the autumn, as they stop to feed on their way to Antarctica.