Tactic: The seal flung the octopus around to kill it as it was proving too difficult to swallow while it was alive and struggling
The epic battle played out off Huntington Beach in California, as stunned photographer Andrew Lee looked on
The seal caused a huge commotion as it desperately tried to swallow the defiant octopus
Photographer Mr Lee explained that the seal eventually had to kill the octopus before gulping it down in one
Water sight: The seal is finally getting to grips with its slippery prey, which put up a brave fight
Mr Lee said that he felt extremely privileged to witness the ‘extraordinary’ aquatic battle, which he said lasted ‘quite a while’
‘I was hoping to catch the seal there hunting instead of going out back to the ocean. I was not disappointed, as I walked closer to the gate, I could see the seal’s head bobbing up and down near the inlet.
‘I could see that the seal was diving down then surfacing, again and again, as if he was fighting with something.
‘It turned out it was an octopus that the seal just caught.
‘The octopus wrapped himself tightly around the seal’s face: his eight tentacles completely covered the seal’s nose and mouth – I thought I was seeing some kind of sea monster.
‘The epic battle lasted a while as the seal tried desperately to position the octopus to swallow.
‘The octopus, to his credit, fought hard not to be beaten (and eaten), clinging and wrapping his tenacious tentacles with big suckers around the seal. I had never witnessed anything like this before.
‘The seal continually dived then surfaced then dived again in an effort to dislodge the octopus. He finally succeeded and was able to grab hold of one of the octopus’s tentacles.
Gloating: Mr Lee said that the seal appeared to go on a victory parade around the inlet after it swallowed the octopus
‘As if punishing or toying with the octopus, the seal shook his head vigorously left and right then right and left, flinging the octopus around him liked a frisbee. It was a sight to behold.
‘The seal then flipped the octopus high in the air and tried to swallow him. But the octopus proved that he was not such an easy prey.
‘The mouth of the seal was filled with the slippery octopus, with all of his eight tentacles spread out.
‘The seal could not swallow the octopus so he spat him out and then started tenderizing his meal again by flinging his lunch back and forth, back and forth.
‘After several attempts, the seal was able to kill the octopus.
‘In the grand finale, the seal triumphantly tossed the now deceased rival in the air, opened his mouth wide, and in one gulf, swallowed the octopus.
‘He then swam around the gate inlet several times as if he was in a victory parade.
‘I was left speechless and very excited to be lucky enough to witness such an extraordinary event.’