By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

A crocodile left with its tail between its legs, after being lunged at by a protective mother hippo

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Its all mine! The croc looks content with its gruesome prize

The reptile was carrying a zebra carcass it in it jaws, when it spotted the huge animal and its young calf in Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Sneaky: The reptile tries to hide its catch from the other crocs

Wildlife photographer Renata Ewald was watching the crocodile with its prize catch, when she saw the incredible scene unravel.

Attack: The mother hippo lashes out at the croc in defence of its young

The 50-year-old from Nelspruit in northeastern South Africa, said: “I heard from people on my way to Lower Sabie that a zebra was caught by a huge crocodile at Sunset Dam, so I decided to stop there in the hopes of still seeing something of it.

The croc is desperate to hold on to its kill - but is left powerless

"At first it looked that it was all over and done.

“I spotted the one hippopotamus on the very far left of the dam and then saw a tiny hippo baby next to her in the water.

Mother hippos keep their young away from pods - but are left defenceless should a predator approach

“I then spotted a huge crocodile with a part of the zebra kill. I would say this crocodile was approximately 15ft long and very intimidating through your lens.”

By mum's side: The young hippo keeps close to its mother

Protective hippo mothers keep their calves away from boisterous family pods, to ensure they are not injured by other members of the group.

Renata, who took the photos on April 10, continued: “The unsuspecting crocodile moved in the direction of the hippo mother and her baby.

Victory: The angry hippo successfully fights off the croc

"I do not know if he was trying to avoid other crocs from taking it from him underneath the water or what.

"Suddenly the large hippo lunged towards the crocodile. I was totally amazed to see how fast the hippo mom moved through the water.

The croc returns to the other reptiles after being defeated

"I thought she was going to bite the crocodile into two pieces. She was one furious hippo mom.

"With quick reflexes, the desperate crocodile immediately turned around, refusing to let go of the zebra carcass even if it cost him his life. The hippo’s bite fell just centimeters short of the crocodile's head."

But soon the hungry reptiles pounce on the carcass

After its brush with death the crocodile dived under the water with its kill still clamped in its jaws.

Renata said: "Despite attempting to keep his meal to himself, after the close call with the hippo the crocodile was forced to retreat back to the other crocs in the dam, who quickly jumped at the opportunity to steal his meal."