A man walking in a national forest in central Florida has captured a rare image of a raccoon appearing to ride on the back of an alligator.
Richard Jones was walking with his family in the Ocala National Forest when they spotted the alligator.
He believes his son startled the raccoon while trying to take a picture of the reptile.
The image has become an internet sensation since the photo was taken on Sunday morning.
Mr Jones told local television station WFTV that he “snapped a lucky picture right when the gator slipped into the water and before the raccoon jumped off and scurried away”.
“Without the context you’d think the raccoon was hitching a ride across the river,” he told the television station.
The internet reacts
The photo was met largely with humour and a degree of admiration for the raccoon.
“The raccoon riding an alligator is the most Florida thing since mortgage fraud,” tweeted Benjamin Freed, a writer for the Washingtonian, alluding to the financial crisis that began in 2007.
While Mark Di Stefano found a deeper meaning in the image: “Some days you’re the raccoon. Some days you’re the alligator.” he tweeted.
The debate also moved to how this compared to previous internet animal stars.
One Tweeter put out a call for a meme.
Which thankfully the internet answered.
Meanwhile, Steve Drew suggested that this was actually the beginning of an improbable Hollywood plotline.
“Someone took a photo of raccoon riding an alligator in FL. That or Guardians of The Galaxy II is off to a good start,” he tweeted.
Whilst one tweeter counselled that this was actually a far more serious matter than it first appeared.