There’s a certain savage beauty to nature and creation — and thanks to technology, we get to see things that we never would have been able to witness without going on a safari ourselves.
Such is the case with a video that’s racked up over 10 million views on YouTube showing a lechwe — a type of antelope — barely escaping crocodile-infested waters and near-certain death.
According to the viral nature video site Latest Sightings, which posted the encounter two months ago, it was filmed by Caitlyn Earwaker during her trip to Botswana with her family.
The 24-year-old U.K. veterinary nurse and another woman, Lucy Whitehead, shared the story of how it happened.
“As we cruised along the Chobe River in Botswana, we were treated to the sight of numerous animals coming to the river’s edge to drink,” Earwaker said.
“Our guide suddenly pointed out a lechwe (a large antelope with a distinctive red coat) swimming across the river. It was a peaceful scene until a crocodile emerged from the water and made a beeline for the lechwe.”
Crocodiles, the site noted, don’t usually chase their prey, instead sneaking up and ambushing it. That said, you take what you can get — and in this case it was a lechwe that thought it had safe passage to the other side of the river.
The antelope clearly didn’t — and all hope looked lost.
“We all held our breath as the lechwe, sensing the danger, began to swim faster,” she said.
“The crocodile, determined to make a meal of the lechwe, hastened his pace. The lechwe and crocodile continued their high-speed chase across the river. The lechwe, with its powerful legs, was able to stay just ahead of the crocodile, but it was close.”
Part of this is because lechwe has, being an antelope that prefers marshy environments near river systems, legs that are adapted to the task. They can quickly swim through water thanks to powerful rear legs.
Not that the lechwe wasn’t in danger, however. In fact, according to the tourist, it barely missed becoming a very big meal for the croc.
“At one point, the crocodile snapped its jaws shut, missing the lechwe by mere inches,” she said.
“The lechwe, sensing that it was in the clear, began to swim towards the shore.”
However, everyone who was watching was still in for an exhilarating display of nature’s power.
“The crocodile, not ready to give up its prey, continued its pursuit,” Earwaker said. “We were all amazed at the sheer athleticism and determination of both the lechwe and the crocodile.”
“The lechwe, with its powerful legs, was able to swim faster and more efficiently than the crocodile, but the crocodile’s strength and endurance allowed it to keep up.”
The winner: the lechwe over the crocodile, if only just barely. It was almost a meal when its feet finally hit bottom just feet from shore.
“As the lechwe reached the shore, we all let out a collective sigh of relief. It was a truly incredible experience to witness such a dramatic and intense struggle,” the tourist said.
“The Chobe River is truly a must-visit destination for anyone interested in wildlife and nature. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time visitor, you’re sure to be captivated by the beauty and drama of this stunning region.”
It’ll certainly give you a firsthand education in how nature works. And for those who would have been horrified by the opposite result, just remember something.
This was the top comment on the YouTube video, by an individual using the moniker “Sir Netflix”:
“Everyone: Cheering for the prey.
“The croc: I’m just trying to eat man.”
A crocodile that starves to death is no less sad than a lechwe that gets eaten.
Thankfully, nature hath made the battle fair, and hopefully there were other unsuspecting animals this croc managed to get a hold of — just not on camera.
That’s how nature works. Call it beautiful, call it ugly, but that’s how it’s been created.
Thanks to this lucky clip, more than 10 million viewers have been reminded of that fact on YouTube alone.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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