Wildbeest Croc Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.

You've probably heard a story or two about hippos saving other species from perilous situations. This is not one of those stories. In fact, this is the exact opposite of one of those stories. While on a drive in South Africa's Londolozi Game Reserve, trainee ranger Nick Kleer witnessed an unbelievable tug-of-war between a crocodile and a hippo. The role of the rope was played by a very unfortunate wildebeest.

When Kleer arrived at the scene, he was met with with a flurry of chaotic activity. A pack of hyenas lined the banks of the dam while a stressed herd of wildebeest sounded the alarm nearby. Knee-deep in water, a wildebeest splashed, struggling to free itself from the jaws of a crocodile. The sawing sound of a rasping leopard added to the frantic soundtrack. Then the hippo showed up ...

Wildbeest Croc Hippo Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.

“The hippo slowly started making her way closer to investigate the scene," Kleer explains. "She approached to within centimetres and splashed violently at the water. She then, to our astonishment, bit once, twice and then a third time into the wildebeest before plunging the now dead animal into the mercy of the water.”

Wildbeest Croc Hippo 2 Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.
Wildbeest Hippo Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.
Wildbeest Hippo 2 Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.
Wildbeest Hippo 3 Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.

A tug of war ensued and “eventually after about an hour of thrashing, tossing and dunking, the hippo let go of the wildebeest, and the croc made its way to the opposite side of the waterhole with its meal.”

Kleer adds, "It is a scene which I will more than likely never see again and will leave us all in bewilderment for years to come."

Wildbeest Croc Hippo 4 Londolozi 2015 02 04
Image via Londolozi Game Reserve.

Images and story: Londolozi blog

Top header image: Doug Zwick, Flickr

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