This is the astonishing moment a tiny turtle snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after escaping the grasp of a giant anaconda. It looked as though the turtle’s fate was sealed when the large snake clapped eyes on its prey and wrapped itself around the much smaller creature.
But the courageous turtle managed to survive the struggle for several minutes before French photographer, Jean-Michel Labat, helped it to escape. The 61-year-old was visiting Los Llanos in Venezuela when he stumbled across the extraordinary battle.
The anaconda had gripped its prey in the water, and was attempting to squeeze the air out of the turtle, which was able to cling to life because of its tough protective shell. Mr Labat took pictures for a while before realising the turtle was in serious trouble and dropped his camera to help out.
He said: ‘I found it all fascinating to watch at first but then I realised it was going to end badly for the turtle and I had to step in. ‘The anaconda was trying to stifle the turtle but it came unstuck because of its hard shell.
‘Even though it couldn’t crush the turtle it became clear that it would drown if I didn’t do something.’It was a remarkable battle, I’ve never seen anything like this before and probably never will again.’ On average anacondas grow to more than 20 feet long and can weigh a staggering 21 stone. The deadly snakes are not venomous but are known for hiding in shallow waters waiting to surprise their prey before killing them by either constricting them or drowning them.