Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill
Unlikely companions: Lion and croc share a kill

They say two is company, but in SANParks’ Kruger National Park a lion, zebra and crocodile is definitely a crowd. Andreas Ziegler photographed these astounding scenes of a lioness and crocodile feeding on the same prey.

Nature lover Andreas Ziegler came across a very unusual feeding frenzy in Kruger when a lioness and a crocodile decided to share a zebra carcass. And although the two predators did not quite become regular lunch partners, they did not seem to mind the company.

Andreas says they were parked at the waterhole-cum-hippo pool close to Satara when they saw a lioness kill a zebra. “I noticed all the antelopes and zebra fleeing and immediately knew something must have happened. We missed the hunt but were able to see the struggle between the lioness and the zebra. The zebra really wanted to live.

“It was around 14:15 when the lioness brought down the zebra and some 10 minutes later her cubs joined her. The crocodile approached about half an hour later and it took another hour until the crocodile could feed from the zebra for the first time.

“The lioness did try to scare the crocodile off, but only once and this was not a convincing attack. The crocodile’s approach initially meant the lions were limited to the front legs and neck of the zebra. But the lioness was really clever and dragged the zebra around. This allowed her to open the belly and left the crocodile with the two hind legs. From then on the unlikely companions were feeding jointly from the same prey.”

The encounter lasted about two and a half hours. But how should one react when coming across such a unique sighting? “Be humble and grateful. Stay where you are. Don’t move. Be patient. Take your time and wait to see what is happening next.”

Any other strange encounters?

“I’ve come across one sighting that was even more extreme. It was during a night drive about 20 years ago when we saw two snakes fighting. After about 15 minutes one of the snakes ate the other one. I also remember when I saw a male lion kill a kudu. This kill was about three metres away and lasted for only 30 seconds.

More about the photographer

Andreas Ziegler is a professor at the Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics at the University of Lübeck in Northern Germany. He has been visiting South Africa’s game reserves since 1991 and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal is his favourite. Andreas is also an honorary professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and spent his sabbatical in Pietermaritzburg.

Camera specs

Panasonic DMC-G3, LUMIX G VARIO 100-300/F4.0-5.6 1/800 sec, F5.2, ISO 160