Croc Bides its Time with a Thirsty Herd

Grumeti River, Serengeti, Tanzania

Aug 01 2012 Written by:Richard Field

It was late June and we had judged that the bulk of the wildebeest migration should be around the Grumeti River in the western Serengeti. Flying in we soon saw that we had timed it to perfection, with herds of thousands upon thousands of wildebeest covering the plains both north and south of the river.

Once on the ground and in our safari vehicle, we found what looked to be a good drinking spot. There were a few wildebeest drinking already, and within minutes an enormous herd started moving down, with thousands of anxious wildebeests eager to quench their thirst. They jostled and jumped and generally kicked up dust, and with it being the rutting season, the male wildebeests were particularly anxious to maintain contact with their harems of females. Their grunting filled the air and there was an atmosphere of general pandemonium – spectacular to see.

At the same time as the wildebeests arrived, enormous crocodiles slowly moved into the water and began to swim towards the unwitting ‘beests’.  For two very tense hours the crocs crept closer and closer – we knew that it was just a matter of time before a croc made an attempt. Sure enough one struck out at a young wildebeest, but missed (see the photo below).

Undeterred, even more wildebeest surged into the water pushing those in front to within a meter of a very large crocodile. The crocs eyes seemed to light up at the prospect and he began to move in. To find out what happened, you will need to take a minute out of your day and watch this video…