In what can be regarded as a rare sighting, an adult crocodile was seen preying upon a younger croc baby in South Africa. A photographer stationed not so far was able to capture high quality pictures of the animal cannibalising in all its might.
Photographer Jan Butter (69) from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was in South Africa’s Kruger National Park when he saw the Nile crocodile biting on the younger croc and dragging it back into the water as the smaller animal shrieked in despair. The pictures shared online show more than half of the hatchling’s body inside the adult’s mouth as the prey has its jaws open in a way to struggle against the fatal hold.
According to a report in The Sun, Jan was about a 100 feet away from the scene of action in the national park. On the team’s tenth day at Kruger, they were waiting for about half an hour when they saw the dangerous kill unfold in front of their eyes. “All of a sudden, we saw one crocodile grab another one in between its jaws,” the photographer said.
They added that the hunt was over in the space of “about a minute”, after which the croc had tightened its hold and dragged the smaller crocodile into the water to eat. “With its dinner in tow, the crocodile swam away,” he added.
The team went on to say that it was “the first time” that they have come across the act of cannibalism with a crocodile. The report added that although male adults in many animal species are known to eat or kill the younglings, it is a bit uncommon for crocodiles to feed on their own species. Sometimes though, adult males do attack young ones but only in scenarios where they know their victory is guaranteed. Young male crocodiles become the target more often, as the females are spared owing to their reproductive ability.
Although uncommon, an act of crocodile cannibalism was caught on camera in 2015 as well. An Australian woman had managed to be at the right time in the right place when a big saltwater crocodile had attacked a smaller baby at the bank of the water and had eaten it away.
Sandy Bell had spoken to BBC as she recalled catching the scene unfold right before her eyes at the Rinyirru National Park. The giant beast had bitten into the smaller prey, then flung it into the air and splashed it on the ground repeatedly. This method of ‘killing’ the animal went on for 10 to 15 minutes, after which the crocodile ate it up.