Fish Eats Mole

MONROE MACKINNEY/CATERS NEWS AGENCY

Fish's mouth

Last May, Monroe MacKinney reeled in a fish from a pond in Fair Grove, Missouri, only to discover that he’d caught two animals instead of one. Inside the throat of the largemouth bass MacKinney had hooked, he found a surprising stowaway—a mole. When the fisherman saw the small furry mammal, he was so startled he dropped his catch.

MacKinney thinks the fish must have eaten the mole, which then drowned inside the fish’s mouth as it swam underwater. Largemouth bass usually prey on small fish, which they swallow whole. But bass aren’t picky eaters and have been observed gulping down birds, turtles, and snakes. “If it can fit in their throat, they’ll try to eat it,” says MacKinney.

MIROSLAV HLAVKO/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Mole

The real mystery is how the mole ended up in the water—giving the bass a chance to snag it—in the first place. Moles are subterranean animals. They live underground, digging tunnels and feeding on earthworms and insects. But heavy rains in the area could have flooded the mole’s burrow—a hole where an animal lives—sweeping the mole into the pond. Another explanation is that a bird of prey like a hawk or an eagle could have grabbed the mole, lost its grip, and accidentally dropped the mole into the water.

Once in the pond, the mole was fair game for the hungry bass. MacKinney, though, didn’t keep his odd catch. He snapped a photo of the fish and mole and released the bass back into the water. “It was alive and kicking with a good meal,” he says.