These thrilling images capture the intense moment when a formidable lioness seizes and consumes a crocodile by clamping onto its head with her powerful jaws.
In these photographs, the majestic feline can be observed firmly holding onto her 5-foot-long prey using her teeth before beginning to feast on the reptile.
The photographer skillfully captured the untamed behavior of wildlife in their native surroundings within the Sabi Game Reserve, located to the west of Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Mike Sutherland seized the opportunity to take these shots while guiding guests and coming across a trail of lion footprints.
Queen of the jungle: A lioness kills a five-foot-long crocodile by gripping its head in her jaws in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Lunch time: The lioness devoured the crocodile after gripping the 5ft-long animal’s head in her jaws
In the wilds of the Sabi Game Reserve, situated to the west of Kruger National Park, a formidable lioness meticulously tugged at the crocodile’s tough skin using her teeth, preparing to devour her prey.
The 31-year-old photographer recounted the experience, stating, “In South African private reserves, it’s customary for guides to track animals on foot before venturing off-road in our vehicles. We embarked on a journey by foot, myself accompanied by my tracker, in search of the lions. Approximately thirty minutes later, we heard what sounded like a confrontation among lions in a small depression near a watering hole.”
Mr. Sutherland described how they swiftly realized the presence of lions and hurried back to their vehicle, driving towards the area where they suspected the lions to be. He added, “Once we located the lions, it was evident that they had just taken down the crocodile, mere moments before our arrival. The lioness had a firm grip on the crocodile’s throat, attempting to halt its breathing. The rest of the pride was engaging with the crocodile, some clawing at its robust scales, others biting its tail, while a few wandered around, seemingly perplexed by this unfamiliar creature they had captured.”
The photographs were taken in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, west of the Kruger National Park in South Africa
The lioness concentrates on the task at hand as she locks her teeth around the crocodile in the Sabi Game Reserve
Mike believed the crocodile was roughly 5 feet in length and might have weighed 220lbs [15st 7lbs] where as the lioness was an adult female, weighing around 330lbs [23st 5lbs].
He said: ‘The crocodiles head is much bigger than the lioness’s head, and it is difficult to see their full size comparison.
‘The lion was a part of a pride with four adult females with nine sub-adult cubs.
‘The lionesses, at the time of the photograph was around five years old and her cubs ranged between 10-18 months.’