It’s not every day that you see wildlife at its most primal. But a new video has emerged of an African leopard feasting on its freshly killed prey: a two-metre-long crocodile.
The video, shot in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, is rare not least for its timely capture, but also the animals involved. It is highly uncommon to see a leopard with crocodile kill in Africa.
Mr Selfe, an expat, has been living in Zambia for the past 10 years and noted the scarcity of the event.
‘It’s rare to see a leopard with a successful kill and almost unheard of to see a leopard with a crocodile kill.
‘I believe these may be some of the clearest and most illustrative images recorded.’
Although big cats have been photographed in South America and India taking small crocodile species, Mr Selfe, himself an experienced safari and photography guide, said it was much more uncommon for the event to be recorded in Africa.
Incredible footage shot by British photographer Edward Selfe captures the moment a young leopard feasted on its two-foot-long crocodile prey
Crocodiles are not typically prey for leopards in Africa.
He captured moment just as it was getting dark, around 6pm, after tracking the young leopard.
‘This is a young male leopard we know from that area. He has a large territory but, as with many leopards, he has a core area where he feels most comfortable.
Mr Selfe said he believed the attack was most likely opportunist, rather than premeditated.
He added that a leopard wouldn’t typically attack a crocodile for fear of becoming prey itself.
Mr Selfe said he believed the attack was ‘opportunistic’ and occurred when the big cat had gone down to the river.
‘I believe he went down by the water’s edge for a drink. In September there are few places to find water apart from at the river. And I think that he found the crocodile there.
‘Most crocs would move off but I think this one was asleep and didn’t feel the vibrations of the leopard’s approach. Leopards are very much opportunists and will take whatever hunting opportunities come along. So I think he just took the chance when it arose.’
‘I suppose he killed the crocodile with a bite through the back of the skull as strangulation would not work. Because the reptile can hold its breath for a very long time.
‘Leopards are eating more than 90 different species of animal, so their diet has always been known to be varied.’