Nile Crocodiles have an interesting feeding mode…
It is totally opportunistic, but our observations revealed that they do collaborate as a team to sometimes “herd” their prey into shallower water, making it easier to corner the hapless fish, and easier to grab!
They attack and catch their prey, then pause, sometimes submerging for about 30 seconds or more. Then they surface, and literally squeeze the prey with hugely powerful, vice-like jaws. Very often, this is usually sufficient to ensure death! But then they pause again, resting on the surface of the water. After a few seconds they rise up, lifting the head and shoulders out of the water, shake their heads vigorously, then sink quietly down to settle back on the surface of the water, only to pause again for 30 seconds or longer. Then again they lift their head and shoulders high out of the water, and as they reach their peak, they violently slap it down onto the water to effect the final killing blow!
This is not the end… They pause again, then slowly raise their heads out of the water, allowing the Palatal Valve at the rear of the throat to open, and then flip the prey, head first, into a head-first position, another flip and down it goes, whole! *The Palatal Valve is the skin seal which stops the crocodile from ingesting water, and drowning, which is why crocodiles don’t swallow their food under water. If they tried it, they would certainly drown!
This 69 frame sequence which was shot over only a 30 second window period. Only the images of movement are featured in this sequence. The images captured during the resting period have been excluded from this video.
NOTE: We sat at the same waterhole for 4-5 hrs each morning for five days to capture this (and numerous other images of the activity in and around that waterhole, which proved to be an absolute photographic gold mine)!
Equipment used: SONY A9 / SONY 400mm f2.8 +2x Tele Converter
Location: Kruger National Park – South Africa.