TWO fighting swans faced death by drowning or starvation as their necks and wings became hopelessly tangled.
PUBLISHED: 13:04, Tue, Feb 2, 2016 | UPDATED: 16:09, Tue, Feb 2, 2016
These two entwined mute swans were destined to drag each other to a watery grave until they got human help.
With their huge wings and webbed feet hopelessly entangled, the birds would have perished without the caring hands of an animal lover easing them gently apart.
Footage of the rescue on a French riverbank has become an internet sensation after it was posted on Facebook.
The swans' wings and necks had to be carefully de-tangled
The video shows the two adult swans hopelessly ensnared and making frantic efforts to get to the side of the river and the waiting arms of onlookers.
Over the next two minutes, the birds’ fragile wings are carefully pulled apart. Once they are disentangled, both swans waddle away as if nothing had happened.
How the swans happened to be so wrapped in each other has spawned all sorts of theories. Were they in some kind of courtship display or were they locked in mortal combat?
The swans appeared to be in distress after getting tangled
Even more controversial are suggestions that they decided to swim towards humans for help.
One commentator on Facebook said: “It is obvious they came for help. It is also obvious they just moved on when they got help.”