100 Hippos Flee From Flotilla Of 100 Crocs in Zambian River

By Gabrielle Jonas on April 21, 2014 4:17 PM EDT

A hippopotamus is often the one to swim away the winner in a mano-a-mano fight with a crocodiles, but not when confronted by an entire float of them. Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captured stunning images of the confrontation between groups of hippos and crocodiles in a river at Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. While some crocodiles guarded their prize - a dead hippo - scores of other crocodiles slithered into the water after the hippo herd. The hippos were apparently intimidated by the sheer numbers of crocodiles, perhaps along with the sight of the dead hippo.

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Normally, Nile crocodiles and hippos are known to frequent the same bodies of water, and live on opposing sides of a river from each other without incident, even going so far as to share meals, according to some observers. As herbivores, hippos may share a crocodile's dinner by opening up the stomach and intestines of a croc's catch to find a vegetarian meal inside. The two species also work as allies to scare off intruders, and mother hippos have previously placed their babies unattended next to alligators on a river bank. The mere presence of the baby hippo may offer the crocs protection from lions and hyenas.

But in this case, more than a hundred crocodiles descended on the river as the hippos fled, Mol said, according to The Daily Telegraph. Mol photographed the dramatic scene while on an early morning flight over the national park. He saw crocodiles surrounding a dead hippo, which he believes died from anthrax, a toxin that becomes active during extended dry seasons. More than a hundred crocodiles descended on the river as the hippos fled upstream.

Only the crocodiles seemed bothered by his small aircraft, which Mol said may be an instinctive response from when flying dinosaurs posed a threat from above. "It could well be a throwback to the days when Pterodactyls ruled the skies," he said. "It was a thrilling and amazing experience, one that I'll never forget."

Two ferocious creatures of a Zambian river in Africal such as these two here recently had a show-down in a Zambian river in Africa. The crocodiles won.
Two ferocious creatures of a Zambian river in Africa, such as these two here, recently had a show-down in a Zambian river in Africa. The crocodiles won.

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