Now here's an animal duo you don't expect to see together in one place. Spotted out in the wilderness of South Africa's Balule Nature Reserve, which shares a border with the iconic Kruger National Park ... a honey badger feasting on a porcupine. 

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Either one of these elusive creatures is a lucky sighting all on its own – so seeing one snacking on the other is pretty rare indeed. Wildlife photographers Caroline Schiess and Anna Nagel, from Wild PhotographiX, managed to capture some great snapshots of the unusual scenario, but it was a case of third time lucky.  

The badger and its breakfast were initially spotted during a morning trek through the reserve, but the presence of humans spooked the badger, sending it scuttling towards the safety of the thick bush. With the badger gone, the group investigated the scene more closely, picking up on drag marks, tracks from both species, dropped quills and a blood trail. But there was no way of telling whether the badger had actually made the impressive kill (or whether a bigger animal like a leopard or hyena was the real culprit). 

Curious, the group waited to see if the badger would return to reclaim its meal, but they were out of luck. Later in the day, they decided to check the scene out again – catching the badger in the act of trying to drag the porcupine away. The badger, this time much grumpier at being interrupted, retreated once again. It took a third visit for the story to finally reach its conclusion. Photographer Caroline Schiess writes: 

Filled with anticipation and the hope of third time lucky, we positioned ourselves and began the wait. We sat breathless straining our ears for any sound of movement in the long grass, our eyes scouring every inch of bush around for vegetation movement and poised with cameras ready for that fleeting moment.

Rustling grass nearby alerted us that the honey badger may in fact be heading back one more time. We held our breath. The grass moved in the direction where the porcupine lay ... then movement stopped ... then started moving again but in the opposite direction. To our dismay it went quiet again, leaving us hanging with anticipation.

Further up the road there was more rustling and suddenly the honey badger appeared in the road. Adamant on taking his prize, he cautiously made his way towards us and the porcupine. He braved our presence, giving us the opportunity to see a quill buried deep in his right shoulder as well as two serious wounds on his back – leaving no more doubt that he had in fact taken on a porcupine equal to his size!

On reaching the porcupine the honey badger gave a few hard tugs at it and then looked up one last time. He snatched his quarry up and hurriedly dragged it off, disappearing for good ... carrying the wounds of what must have been an epic battle.

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Top header image: Jose Cuadra, Flickr