A Fox and a Snowy Owl Met on a Winter Night

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A fox and a snowy owl share an unlikely moment at a marina in Cobourg, Ontario. Town of Cobourg/Facebook

Have you ever danced with a snowy owl beneath the pale moonlight? Well, this little fox might say he did — and lived to tell the tale.

In surveillance footage caught at a marina in Cobourg, Ontario, a young fox is locked in a strangely tender tango with a snowy owl. The video, which has been shared on Facebook nearly 4,000 times since it was posted in early January, shows the unlikely duo meeting in a serene stretch of snow outside the marina office.

For a few fleeting moments, the fox twirls and leaps around the owl. But his enthusiasm doesn’t seem to be shared by the owl, who perches all puffed up and menacing in the same spot.

A moment later, the pair parts ways. The only sign of this strange winter ballet is a series of pirouettes paw-printed into the snow — and that no-nonsense owl print in the middle of it all.

We came. We played. We may have tried to eat each other.

While a story about a fox and and owl meeting on a cold, snowy night might sound like the stuff of fantasy, the reality may be a little less Pixar-perfect. And a little more predatory.

The question is, which one was the predator? Snowy owls are known to take animals as big as lemmings home for dinner. And this fox, evidently a juvenile, might just fit the bill. Besides, before landing, the owl is seen doing a fly-by over the fox, perhaps sizing him up for a snatching.

Snowy owls, unlike other owls, typically hunt in the daytime. The fact that this one is active at night may suggest an appetite not exactly for new friends.

Then again, in the lean winter months, a hungry fox might also look to expand on his staple of berries and fruits. As an omnivore — and master hunter — a fox will make a meal of just about anything he can find. Would a 4-pound, talon-wielding bird fit the bill?

Evidently not. Because after a few minutes of coaxing and prodding and leaping around the stern-faced owl, the fox appears to get a funny feeling about his dance partner — that perhaps this owl didn’t come to play.

And so the pup prances off in search of a date who doesn't seem so preoccupied with dinner.