By Pete Goddard
These dramatic images capture the moment a mighty croc took on a deadly snake.
The croc is shown tossing and turning in the river with the viper clamped and thrashing beneath his powerful jaws.
Despite an intense battle, the croc came off on top and got to gobble down his prey.
Captured in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, the images were taken by Rishani Gunasinghe, a Patent Technology Specialist.
Rish said:“This was one such occasion. We came across a small waterhole by the main road that was home to a small croc, which most Jeeps seemed to ignore and pass by, crocs not being rare on the island.
“However, there was something that initially appeared to be small and white close by, which sparked our interest and made us stop for a closer look.
“Soon the croc took the white thing into its mouth and lifted it revealing a snake, and first, seeing only the underbelly and the enormous size, we assumed it was a python.
“After a few quick photographs, I noticed the unmistakable chain of dorsal spots and realized it was actually a Russell’s Viper.
“Seeing a Russell’s viper in the wild, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, was indeed a treat, but to see a croc with one of possibly record size, and the superb spins and tosses displayed by the croc in trying to kill and devour the viper, was quite a show and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime encounter.
“When I was taking the pictures , all I was thinking was getting both the croc and viper sharp and freezing the super-fast action as best as I could. Now I feel we were extremely lucky to witness such a rare event.
“The Russell’s viper is an aggressive snake and in Sri Lanka, it is responsible for the highest snake bites, highest number of fatalities and it’s the second most venomous viper in the island.
“It is said to have the longest fangs of any Sri Lankan snake. It feeds mainly on rodents and other arthropods, so it’s hard to think it targeted a croc.”
You can see more of Rish’s work at https://www.facebook.com/wildmomentsbyRish/ .