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Mon Dec 22 09:02:09 SAST 2014

Golden eagle snatches toddler in Canada: Video

Sapa-AFP | 19 December, 2012 10:21
Golden Eagle in flight.
Image by: Tony Hisgett / Wikimedia Commons

A YouTube video of a golden eagle swooping down and lifting a toddler off the ground in Montreal could soar to Internet stardom as the latest episode of animals behaving strangely in Canada.

UPDATE: A blog posting under the banner "Centre NAD reassures Montrealers: no danger of being snatched by a golden eagle" debunks the video.

The posting identified four students at the Montreal 3D animation and digital design school as being behind the hoax, which it said was part of a school project.

"The child and the eagle were created using 3D animation by the students and then dropped into real footage," it said.

Earlier, several journalists who watch the Internet closely were already suspicious of its authenticity.

Others posted stills from the footage that they said show the eagle's shadow suddenly appearing on the video when it was not previously visible.

Coming just a week after a monkey wearing a sheepskin coat was found wandering around an IKEA parking lot in Toronto, the video shows the massive eagle -- with a roughly two-metre wing span, circling a public park.

The eagle then swoops down, lifts an unsuspecting toddler off the ground by its winter coat and carries it a few feet before dropping it on the grass.

After cursing in English, the French-speaking man filming the incident races over to comfort the bewildered child, who starts crying but does not appear to have been seriously hurt.

"A golden eagle tries to snatch a baby in Montreal! What if he got away with it!?" reads a caption under the video, posted by MrNuclearCat.

The video, which can be seen below, has been making the rounds on Twitter.

"Destined to be huge!" one user wrote. "Craziest video I've seen in a long time," tweeted another.

The golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America, and can dive at its quarry at speeds of more than 241 kilometres per hour, according to the US National Geographic Society.

The eagle likely mistook the toddler for a rabbit, marmot or ground squirrel, its normal prey.

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