By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

A PROTECTIVE mother hippo clamps a crocodile in her jaws as the huge reptile struggles to break free

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Make it snappy: The enormous hippo lunged at the hapless croc

The confrontation broke-out on the edge of the aptly-named Lake Panic in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Stunned amateur photographer Ken Haley snapped the incredible photos on June 11 of this year.

The desperate reptile struggles to break free

He said: “The female hippo and her calf were in the dam about a hundred metres away from the main hippo pod.

The one-sided fight took place in Kruger National Park's Lake Panic

"The crocodile was lying still on the shore pretty much minding its own business when suddenly the hippo charged out of the water and attacked the crocodile.”

The croc tried to make a break for it into the water

The UK-born 62-year-old, who now lives in South Africa, said he thought the hippo was making a pre-emptive strike to protect her young.

The powerful mother hippo had the animal firmly in its grasp

He added: “My first reaction was one of shock at the speed of the hippo and her level of aggression against the crocodile.

“My second reaction was 'wow, you don't see that every day!'

A calf stays close as it moves through the water with its mother

"There was a short stunned silence among everyone in the hide, before we realised what we had just seen, then the usual question: did you manage to get a photo?

“The hippo must have felt that her calf was under threat from the crocodile and her protective instincts kicked in.

Hippos relaxing in Lake Panic

“She appeared to snap her jaws around the crocodile's body as it tried to twist and thrash to break free.  

“The hippo held its grip for a couple of seconds before the crocodile was able to escape into the safety of the dam. It disappeared into the water and I didn't see it again.”