an alligator caught on camera
Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 18/07/2008
The astonishing spectacle
of a leopard savaging an alligator has
been captured for the first time on
A series of incredible
pictures taken at a South African game
reserve document the first known time
that a leopard has taken on and defeated
one of the fearsome reptiles.
The photographs were taken
by Hal Brindley, an American wildlife
photographer, who was supposed to be
taking pictures of hippos from his car
in the Kruger National Park.
The giant cat raced out
of cover provided by scrub and bushes
to surprise the alligator, which was
A terrible and bloody
struggle ensued. Eventually, onlookers
were amazed to see the leopard drag
the alligator from the water as the
reptile fought back.
With the alligator snapping
its powerful jaws furiously, the two
animals somersaulted and grappled. Despite
the alligator's huge weight and strength,
the leopard had the upper hand catching
its prey by the throat.
Eventually the big cat
was able to sit on top of the reptile
and suffocate it.
In the past, there have
been reports of alligators killing leopards,
but this is believed to the first time
that the reverse scenario has been observed.
Mr Brindley said: 'I asked
many rangers in South Africa if they
had ever heard of anything like this
and they all said no.
"It just doesn't
make sense. The meat you get out of
an alligator is just not worth the risk
it takes a predator to acquire. The
whole scene happened in the course of
about 5 minutes. Then the leopard was
"I drove away, elated
in disbelief. It may have been the most
amazing thing I've ever seen."
Ellie Rose, a reptile
keeper at London Zoo, said: "Normally,
alligators are well able to defend themselves
against attack. I can't think of any
examples of this happening before."
pictures by Hal Brindley/SOLO Syndication