To give her cubs safe passage across the river, a mother lioness had to pimp slap a croc.
‘I watched a lioness carefully move out into the channel and then there was a huge splash in the water,’ wildlife photographer Pia Dierickx said.
‘Luckily for the lioness the crocodile did not have an opportunity to do the death roll because her mouth was kept closed between the front legs of the lioness,’ the photographer added.
‘It was only after checking my pictures on the camera viewer that I really realized what I had witnessed. Luckily the story had a happy ending because all the lionesses and cubs made it safely to the other bank.’
Watchful: The lioness can be seen surveying the water as her pride waits to cross the river in Botswana’s Okavango Delta
Lurking: The lioness spots the giant crocodile’s head partially submerged in the waters of the river
Menace: The lioness bares her enormous fangs after spotting the crocodile in the river in Botswana.
Spring: The lioness springs from the water and into action as she prepares to battle to protect her cubs from the lurking crocodile
Head to head: The photographer who captured these images said the struggle took place within a split second.
Escape: Seizing her moment while the reptile is under the water, the lioness makes a break for dry land.
Diversion: As the lioness struggled with the lurking reptile, the rest of the pride were able to cross the river in safety.
Battle wounds: The lioness was left bleeding after the crocodile clamped its jaws around her mouth.