This dramatic footage of a giraffe and a crocodile battling it out was captured by freelance field guide Mario Paul, who was guiding for Vula Tours.
Mario tells LatestSightings.com the story: “I was guiding a tour for Vula Tours on this day. We had just left our breakfast stop at 10am and were heading up the H4-1 in the hope of finding a leopard!”
“About 1.5km’s from Lower Sabie I spotted a herd of giraffes on the other side of the river staring down into the riverbed. Experience immediately told me that there must be some sort of predator in the vicinity.”
“We stopped and searched without luck. I then decided to go into the little loop and that is where I spotted a giraffe lying flat on the sand. This puzzled me as I could not see any predators around.”
“The giraffe then sat up and I simply thought that he might have had a bit of a stumble or slipped and fallen down. What happened next I would have never been able to predict.”
“The giraffe tried to stand up and pulled into view a monster crocodile that was latched to his leg. This croc must have been 4 to 5m long. The giraffe was not able to get up on his feet and crashed down to the ground, probably due to the heaviness of the croc. A croc this size could easily weigh close to a ton.”
“The giraffe repeatedly tried to stand up, each time pulling this enormous croc up into the air. We sat there for over an hour, hoping the giraffe would somehow manage to escape the jaws of this giant croc.”
“Every time the giraffe tried to get up my guests and I started tried to encourage the giraffe in the hope that it might help, but, every time we were met by the crushing fall of this unfortunate giraffe (yes I know it’s not the right thing to do but in this situation everybody rooted for this poor giraffe and nobody could help themselves).”
“We could hear how he was falling down and we could feel his suffering and helplessness. It was extremely traumatic for us and we decided to leave the sighting after an hour as we could not bear to watch this poor giraffe suffer any longer.”
“An hour later we had to go past again and the poor giraffe was still trying desperately to get up, he was clearly exhausted and we could see that this crocodile was not going to let go. The giraffe’s leg must have been so damaged already that I knew there and then that he was not going to make it.”
“At around 13:30 we heard that the croc had let go and returned to the water and was lying and just watching the giraffe. The giraffe apparently tried to get up several more times but his leg was badly broken and he was completely exhausted and thus was unable to do so.”
“For the rest of the afternoon, not much happened. By the next day, the resident pride of lions had come across the giraffe and finished it off.”
“Looking at what happened here one cannot help but feel sorry for the poor giraffe but one cannot look past what we had witnessed. The crocodile held on to the giraffe for more than 3.5 hours whilst it was trying its best to escape. Then for a croc to take on something that big is unheard of, never mind actually managing to finish the kill.”
“This was very traumatic to watch and for some of my guests it was just too much and they couldn’t stop their tears. I know it’s nature and I have seen many kills in my guiding career, but never has one touched me as deeply as this one.”
“It was very difficult to remain impartial, even though I knew this is nature. I also had very mixed emotions, on the one side I felt for the giraffe, but on the other side, I knew I was witnessing something that has probably never been recorded.
That is nature for you!”