Crocodile Kills Female Bushbuck at Lake Panic Kruger National Park
Before heading north to Satara which was to be our base for the next 4 nights we decided to spend a couple of hours at the Lake Panic bird hide described previously.
When we arrived about 08.30 there was only 2 cars there so the hide
was quite empty. Over the next hour or so a number of people came and
went after seeing close-up views of a wonderful variety of
hippos, in and out of the water
crocodiles basking and a pair of
Kingfishers fishing. We got some superb photos of
African Jacanas, males, females and juveniles and not such good
Black Crakes and
A pair of African Fish-Eagles also posed nicely for the camera on the branch of a dead tree. Another unusual sighting was that of a White-crowned Lapwing and an African Rail on the far bank.
Take a look at this wonderful shot Gareth, my son, got of this
Then there was a shout ... It was probably around 09.30 when somebody saw a crocodile pulling an animal down into the water on the southern bank. It was quite some distance away and extremely difficult to make out although my son got a view, through binoculars, of it just before the croc disappeared into the water.
He immediately recognized the animal in the mouth of the crocodile as
a female Bushbuck. Instantly our thoughts went back to the previous late
afternoon when we saw probably just that same animal browsing along the
banks of the Mafunyane Creek.
It must have been about 30 minutes later when I saw a very large
crocodile in the water lilies on the far bank with what appeared to be
the tail of a large catfish sticking out of its mouth. On closer
inspection what appeared to be a tail became an ear of a Bushbuck. Then
the crocodile turned and the head of the Bushbuck with eyes glazed could
be seen protruding from the mouth. Take a look at this aerial image ...
The image below (click to enlarge) shows the relative positions of the crocodile and bird hide when I spotted it some time later after the initial short sighting. Although quite some distance away on the far bank-side I took a few shots and show them below.
In this shot you can see the large size of the croc and
you can also see the right ear and front of the Bushbuck. Just
take a look at the size of the head of the crocodile and see its
tail also protruding from the water on the left side of the
The croc then started to swim slowly from left to right and you can see the ear protruding from the mouth until it reached the area where it had first been seen dragging the Bushbuck into the water. From the glazed look on the eyes it appeared that the kill had happened some hours earlier.
The next image shows the croc leaving the water with its prey while
one of the
Woolly-necked Storks looks on.
Notice the well worn path down to the water's edge. This is probably
where the Bushbuck came to take its last drink. The cover in this area
was probably perfect for any lurking crocodile. On this last shot below
you can plainly see the face of the Bushbuck.
Maybe this is the real reason the bird hide should be called Lake Panic.
Imagine the fear and panic the Bushbuck experienced in the last few
moments of its life at the edge of this beautiful wild African dam.
Then we left to drive to Satara and it was only an hour later before we encountered another piece of raw Africa ... a leopard kill.