A hungry crocodile was caught on camera snatching a young cheetah and dragging it underwater within seconds.
Visitors at the AndBeyond Phinda nature reserve watched with a heavy heart when the cheetah cub was attacked while dipping for a drink by the waterhole.
Tour guide Busani captured the cub’s fatal error on camera.
In the clip played on safari channel WildEarth on Freeview Channel 91, the mother cheetah was out of the camera frame when her two cubs approached the waterhole (see below).
One of them stayed further away but the other thirsty big cat took a risk.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t drink it, oh no,” Busani said.
As the young cheetah prowled near water, it noticed something lurking in the muddy water – a ruthless apex predator with razor-sharp teeth and incredible hunting skills.
The cheetah hissed at it as it inched closer to take a sip of water.
“That’s so close to the crocodile!” the guide said as he watched the tragedy waiting to happen.
Within seconds, the agile croc sprung out of water and sank its teeth on the cheetah’s neck.
The cub yelped and tried to fight against the croc but the predator dragged it into the water and swam further away from land, leaving the cub no chance to escape.
Busani said typically the mother cheetah would go with her cubs to the waterhole and he was baffled as to why the cubs were left alone.
As crocodiles are skilled at ambushing in the water, the risk of drinking from the waterhole alone turns the cub into an easy target.
Although cheetahs are agile, crocodiles are powerful and advantageous in the water.
It was almost impossible for the cub to make it out alive.
He added that the mother and the remaining cub stayed at the bank for days calling for the late cub.
“This was an extremely exhilarating, yet sad sighting,” Busani said.
“However, nature taking its course is something we have to deal with. We must ask ourselves how far we are willing to imprint our emotions on nature and its laws.”
This article by Tiffany Lo was first published by The Daily Star on 28 July 2023. Lead Image: Two cheetah cubs were seen wandering around a waterhole without their mum (Image: WildEarth).
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