A brook trout, likely up to no good.
A brook trout, likely up to no good. Eric Engbretson/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Last month, Kristin Warner went fishing at Newcombe Brook in Nova Scotia and caught a bunch of brook trout. When he sat down to clean them, though, he found he’d nabbed something else, too: two of the fish’s stomachs contained whole mice.

When Warner photographed the mice and posted it Facebook, he heard from a number of other people with similar experiences, the CBC reports.

This failed to ruffle zoologist Andrew Hebda, who told the outlet he has come across trouts with all sorts of things in their bellies. “Although we tend to think of them as the majestic trout,” he said, they’re not just leaping gracefully out of the water for flies all the time. “They can feed on a whack of stuff.” In springtime, that can mean mice, who might try to swim across the river, or get flooded out of burrows near the shore.

Rodent-eating trout are not a strictly a Nova Scotian phenomenon. Companies sell mouse-shaped lures for hooking big fish. A study done in Bristol Bay, Alaska indicated that some years, 25% of fish there gorge on small mammals. (One rainbow there was found with 20 shrews in its stomach.)

The three mice Warner found were more than enough to give him pause, though. “I was surprised to see them in there,” he said.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.