Lions and crocodiles

Lions and crocodiles have lived side by side since the beginning of time and have been enemies ever since. Rul, one of the guides at Pondoro, took this video early morning on the 3rd of April 2016. He woke up to the sound of vervet monkeys giving alarm calls close to the staff accommodation. He quickly got dressed and went to investigate as he knew that some kind of predator must be lurking around in the vicinity of where the calls emanated from.

Prey animals live a hard life and their survival depends on being highly alert to any kind of danger or suspected threat to their lives. In Afrikaans we have a saying “liewer bang Jan as dooie Jan” which loosely translates that a scared and alive Peter is better than a brave and dead Peter. As a result any suspect shadow or fleeting glimpse of a difficult to identify object would raise an alarm causing the bush to often reverberates with alarm calls. We often find predators when listening to these warning signals, but a lot of time can also be wasted when reacting to false alarms of animals with a very nervous disposition. There are a few animals that I have leant over the years to be worthy of my trust and whose warning calls can usually be depended upon like vervet monkeys, bushbuck and kudus.

Rul was amazed to find a crocodile and lion feeding side by side on a waterbuck kill, with the crocodile even rolling sideways to tear a piece of meat from the carcass. By the time his video camera was ready to record, the crocodile had unfortunately swallowed the piece of meat and was lying a meter away from the feeding lion. It is rare to see scenes like this and lions usually have a healthy respect for crocodiles not wanting to get too close and risk a life threatening injury against an armored tank. As mentioned in a previous post the Singwe pride’s territory follows the Olifants river in a fairly narrow band and frequent dealings with their ancient neighbors would have made them more bold in defending their kills as fear got replaced by revulsion. Crocodiles have an incredible sense of smell and a carcass close to the river would be sure to attract their unwarranted attention. A scene like this, though rarely seen, would have played itself out countless of times over millennia as eternal enemies lions and crocodiles fight and bluff their way around the dinner table.

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