Nile Crocodile, Moremi NP - Botswana (6744)

Dreadful – May 2012

Shot of the Month – May 2012

Nile Crocodile, Moremi NP - Botswana (6744)

This image makes me very uneasy.  My eyes keep drifting past those rows of teeth.  Past that mottled tongue.   Back to that space where the two jaws meet.  My gaze becomes locked as I imagine what this view means for creatures unfortunate enough to see the inside of a crocodile’s mouth.

I photographed this Nile Crocodile in Botswana from quite far away.  Very far away actually.  I was in a vehicle, on the other side of a large river.  I felt uncomfortable then though the danger was nil.  Even now, sitting safely in my chair a continent away — a sense of dread.  My eyes dart to those teeth.  Then to those eyes.  The eyes are so tiny.  They seem almost like an afterthought.  A killing machine so massive and efficient, 55 million years in the making, that it almost doesn’t need to see?  And then back, back, deep into the throat of the abyss.  My eyes unable to look away.  Mind seized in the grip of forced contemplation of my mortality.

My inability to mentally break free is well founded in reality.  Once in the jaws of a crocodile escape is all but impossible for mortal creatures.  No other animal on the planet exerts as much force as the crocodile – in fact, the comparison is absurd.  Rottweiler dogs can clamp down on your leg with 335 pounds/square inch of force.  Ouch, bad dog.  Hyenas can crush bones with their powerful jaws and can apply up to 1000 pounds/square inch.  The great white shark has a legendary powerful bite and can exert 1,800 pounds/square inch (Dun-dun Dun-dun!).


If you want to break free from the bite of that pesky 1 ton crocodile pulling you into the water for a swim you will need to overcome more than 5,000 pounds/square inch of force.  Good luck with that.

I am having a hard time finishing the narrative for this shot of the month.  Normally I sit and look at the image and the ideas and words flow.  In this case the creative process grinds to a halt as my eyes lock and the mind turns.  It is more portal than picture.  To feelings and ruminations I rarely experience with a wildlife photo.

The journey is illuminating, motivating even, but dare not linger.

Until next month……


(note to self:  next month find a photo of a cuddly, fluffy bunny to talk about….)