Serendipity… “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way”.
The word ‘serendipity’ can undoubtedly relate to a number of instances we encounter in the bush, some through the preconceived knowledge and experience acquired through years of working and living in the bush, and others out of pure luck and fortuitous timing. On this occasion, it was a case of being in the ‘right place at the right time’…
In anticipation of the arrival of a herd of elephants at a nearby dam, we waited patiently, watching a number of male village weavers meticulously constructing their nests as we wiled away the time. A pod of hippos moved about in the shallows and a few crocodiles basked in the sun on the banks of the dam. Soon some commotion caught our attention and we noticed a large crocodile ushering a school of catfish towards a shallow outlet of the dam. I readied my guests and we got our cameras ready for a potential and imminent strike… With fierce power and lightening quick reactions, the crocodile launched an attack, thrashing its robust body from side to side and successfully managed to take grasp of a large catfish in its powerful jaws and razor sharp teeth.
To our amazement, the catfish continued to flap tirelessly in the jaws of the crocodile for quite some time until it finally succumbed to the injuries sustained from its fierce competitor. Continuously thrashing the catfish around, the crocodile attempted to break the catfish in half in preparation for swallowing its worthy catch. Unbeknownst to many people, crocodiles are unable to shallow their prey below the water surface and therefore need to launch themselves out of the water and throw the prey upwards and into the mouth so as to prevent water from gushing down their throat.
In a series of photographs below, one can see the sequence of events that took place.
A few more thrashes from its powerful body, the crocodile successfully managed to tear the catfish in half, after which it proceeded to throw the now mangled fish into the air and down its throat.
This is one just example of how being in the right place at the right time can result in a spectacular sighting and how when you head out on safari you just never know what you might find.