Motherhood is tough. If it's not the rigorous feeding schedule, it's some predator trying to gobble up your brood. That's how it goes for mothers in the animal kingdom, at least. And sometimes, moms have to risk their own lives to protect their vulnerable whippersnappers from an untimely demise. On a recent drive through Londolozi Private Game Reserve in South Africa, ranger Kevin Power filmed a mother goose feigning an injury to draw a hungry otter away from her goslings:

The weather was pretty miserable on the day that Power and former Londolozi rangers Andrea Campbell and Garrett Fitzpatrick ventured into the north of the reserve in search of something special. But the rainy mission turned out to be more than worth it. Otters are rarely sighted at Londolozi. In fact, despite 15 years of collective guiding experience between the three rangers, this was the first time that any of them had spotted one on the reserve. "Needless to say, we were thrilled," Power explains over on the Londolozi blog.

The otter – of the Cape clawless variety and one of only two species of otter found in South Africa – had its eye on a brood of Egyptian geese goslings bobbing about in a large pool. Possibly deterred by the 20-plus hippos that were occupying the water, the otter calculated its approach and waited until the geese were in a more accessible spot before launching an attack. The adult geese quickly staged a distraction. 

“The most incredible thing for us was the way in which one of the adult geese (it looked like the mother) was pretending to be injured to make the otter come after her, which bought time for the goslings to make an escape," Power explains.

It took just a few minutes for the otter to realise that it was being duped, but by that stage the goslings had managed to conceal themselves in the dense reeds, out of harm's way. The otter meanwhile took to harassing a small crocodile instead.

This is not the first time that we've seen these wily geese putting on a show to hoodwink predators. Just last year, the crew from WildEarth's safariLIVE filmed a goose luring a leopard away from her goslings with an Oscar-winning performance: