Sometimes, life's moments of pure terror don't happen at the movies or on TV. They happen here, in reality, where nature is at its most raw and unforgiving. As humans, we've sheltered ourselves away from most of the dangers of the wild, but that doesn't mean we never get to see a rare glimpse of it in action. When you see what one wildlife photographer caught on camera, you're not going to believe your eyes!
Snapped In Kenya
The shocking photos of a crocodile practically swallowing a zebra whole were taken in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, one of Kenya's most popular tourist destinations. Located in the Great Rift Valley, the reserve is comprised mostly of open grassland and is considered one of the best places in the world to view wildlife in its natural habitat.
It's Packed Full Of Exotic Animals
Think of the stereotypical image of Africa and you're basically thinking of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. It's teeming with everybody's favorite jungle beasts, including hippos, lions, giraffes, and more! The reserve also sees a large number of zebras migrate from the Serengeti Plains every year between July and October. But, as we're about to see, it doesn't always end well for them...
Sadly for those beautiful, frolicking zebras, life isn't all roses. Danger can be found around every corner in the form of super predators, such as lions and crocodiles. Crocodiles are permanent residents in the Maasai Mara National Reserve and they frequently lurk beneath the waters of the Mara river, ready to catch their next meal by surprise.
The Circle Of Life
It may be absolutely terrifying, but these gruesome events happen every single day in the animal kingdom. Crocs weren't given those massive teeth so they could eat salad! The pure strength of the crocodile is fascinating - it can basically take on any creature it is presented with. No wonder they've continued to survive since long before we even existed.
Forget About Sharing
A few of us can probably relate to this hungry croc. Sometimes when you've got a tasty meal in front of you, you simply don't want to share with anyone! The second crocodile in this picture looks like it can't wait to get in on the action, but the big guy is having none of it. He wants the whole zebra, and who could blame him?
Being ridiculously massive probably gets you quite far in the animal world. This big guy is a great example of that! After fighting off the smaller crocs who wanted a slice of the pie, he happily settled down on the banks to gobble up what was rightfully his. You simply can't wipe the smile off his toothy face.
Wasn't The Photographer Freaking Out?
We certainly would be! Subramanian Sridharan is the man who took the amazing photos - we're just hoping he was a safe distance from the action, or perhaps covered in bubble wrap for protection. Observing the attack in real life must have been difficult, but wildlife photographers know they can't do anything to save the poor old zebras.
Not many people will ever witness something so amazing and raw in their lifetimes. The sheer capacity of the crocodile's jaws is out of this world. The way the photo series unfolds to show every little detail is truly stunning, and we hope Subramanian Sridharan wins some kind of award for such brilliant photography and bravery!
He Hasn't Changed His Mind
The next picture kind of looks like the crocodile has given up and may share his meal after all. But that's not the case at all. Crocs are massive predators, but even they can't swallow an entire zebra whole. In this photo, the crocodile is simply rearranging the zebra's head so he can attack it from a better angle.
It's Definitely Dead
Those cringing at all of these zebra head pics can relax a little - it's long dead by this stage of the feast. The croc devoured it bit by bit and saved its head for last. We don't know about you, but after a meal like that, we're sure this big guy is going to be experiencing one serious food coma.
One Big Food Baby
We all know that feeling after a mega feast when it's as though we're about to give birth to a food baby. That's exactly how this croc looks after consuming an entire zebra. His body, particularly just under the jaws has swelled to massive proportions. Hopefully he won't mind a little indigestion in exchange for filling up way too much.
Sometimes They Save It For Later
In case death by crocodile wasn't scary enough already, it may freak you out to learn that if they're not hungry enough to eat you right then and there, they'll happily stow your body away somewhere for later. Crocs are known for tucking food away in burrows or crevices under the water, in order to return later to eat it.
They Can Go Months Without A Big Meal
One of the reasons crocodiles are some of the most successful predators out there is that they're extremely patient. They can actually survive for up to six months without a kill, so they have plenty of time to plan their next meal. They don't rush in swinging - when a croc attacks, it is very much a calculated decision.
They Literally Stalk Their Prey
With so much time on their hands, crocodiles have the leisure of observing their prey days before they decide to make a move. Humans need to take note, too! When camping in croc infested areas, don't form a routine - if you collect water every morning at 9am, the crocodile stalking you will know exactly when to attack. Freaky!
The Nile Crocodile
The type of croc found in the Maasai Mara National Reserve is the Nile crocodile. They're freshwater predators and are just a little smaller than the extremely dangerous and aggressive saltwater crocodile. They have an extremely powerful bite, which allows them to hold larger animals, such as zebras, underwater in order to drown them.
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