Animal instincts

Below are a sequence of photographs of a Hooded Crane and a Crocodile taken on the St Lucia Estuary at the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

I feel privileged to have been able to witness and photograph this sequence of events as they unfolded. The first photo was the croc laying silently on the bank of the river whiling the hours on a warm balmy summer afternoon. The next sequence of shots includes a Hooded Crane with head held high, tiptoeing through the African bush behind the croc.

I got my first glimpse of the croc as the tourist boat slowed and drifted closer towards the banks of the river. A sort of quietness permeated from the busy tourist boat as we watched the Hooded Crane appear and walk nimbly through the African bush behind the croc. Quietly and with no quick discernible movement the croc slid their head from a resting position to a ready position. The perky Hooded Crane appeared to be weighing up the croc from a safe distance, head slightly tilted and always one eye on the enemy. In possible anticipation of an early supper the croc opens their jaws ready to snap the prey should it get close enough, however, the Hooded Crane had other ideas and nimbly departed through the bush, out of sight being out of reach. With supper off the menu the croc decided an afternoon swim was the order of the day.

Afternoon snooze on the edge of the estuary at St Lucia

After watching this scenario play out I asked myself the following questions:

1) ‘Did the Hooded Crane know the croc was laying in wait’? 2) Was it the basic instinct of self preservation that guided the crane to safety? 3) Was the Hooded Crane toying with the Croc, having a bit of light afternoon fun?

I guess I will never know the real answer to any of the above questions, but maybe the lesson is to trust our basic instincts.

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