A bungling beagle has been branded the world's worst hunting dog after failing to spot a fox trotting along behind him.
The hapless hound had strayed too close to a den containing four cute fox cubs.
But their protective parents were not going to be hounded out without standing their ground.
The foxes shot off through the undergrowth to confront the hound, but, amazingly, the male fox ended up behind the dog.
Naturalist and photographer Mircea Costina captured the amazing scene in a forest north of Montreal, Canada.
He said: "I have been watching this one fox family for three years since 2008. This year they had four little pups and the two parents are very protective.
"This one day, around 7am, I was close to their den, trying to take some pictures. Suddenly the two parents became very agitated.
"In the next moments I heard a dog barking. The male looked to try and see the intruder while the female attempted to pursue him.
"The dog was getting very close to the den when the male saw the hound and started tracking it.
"Luckily the dog gave up and finally left and the family remained safe. I think he was more interested in the game of smelling the fox trace. The master recovered the dog and put him on a leash.
"It was the first time in my life when I saw foxes so brave and who managed to fight back against a hunting dog to defend their pups with their life. An unforgettable story!"