Nature can be cruel at times and there's no better example than the one that surfaced Friday in Germany where a hunter discovered a fox frozen under the icy surface of the Danube River near Tuttlingen.

According to the German publication Bild, Franz Stehle discovered the sad scene in December.

"After New Year, he sawed him out," his wife, Martine Stehle, told the Bild, as translated by Google Translate. "Now he stands behind the house as a warning for those who believe in the ice."

The Bild post showed photos of the fox beneath the ice and other images. On Facebook, Wild Jaeger, an archery range in Germany, posted a few photos of the fox in various stages of thawing, and AOL posted the one being widely circulated in the media:

Wildlife biologist Dr. Michael Corsmann of the University of Gottingen explained to the Bild how it probably happened.

"Water birds are gathering on ice-free spots in the middle of the water," he said. "This is tempting for the fox. They can see if they can capture the prey.

"Foxes are good swimmers, but when they break in, they can no longer pull themselves up at the edge of the ice. They die after 30 minutes of hypothermia and debilitation."

Then, as in this case, the ice freezes around them.

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It isn't the first time Stehle has seen wild animals entombed in ice.

"Once I discovered a frozen deer, and I've seen three or four wild boars in the last 40 years," he told Bild.

Once the fox is defrosted, it presumably will be discarded.

"Unfortunately for the hunter," the Bild wrote, "after the thawing of the ice block, the fox fur is no longer usable."