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Astonishing moment, an angry Hippo came face to face with a grumpy Croc.

After hours waiting beside an African river, Arnaud Germain thought he finally had the perfect shot of his favourite bird.

But as the wildlife photographer trained his lens on the colourful kingfisher, he got a rather different snap than he was expecting.

All of a sudden, a crocodile and a hippo burst from the tranquil waters straight in front of him, locking jaws in ferocious battle.

Arnaud desperately tried to refocus his camera on the river monsters as they fought on the banks of the Shire River, in the Liwonde National Park, Malawi.

As these incredible images show he captures the moment the crocodile and hippo clashed in a bloody tooth-on-tooth tussle.

At first it looks like the reptile has the upper hand as its head is almost as large of the hippos but the protective mum, defending a calf, soon proves too strong sending the scaly intruder packing, bloodied and bruised.

And the kingfisher seemed completely unphased by the commotion and stayed on its perch the whole time ready for its close up.

The remarkable sequence of events unfolded on Arnaud's 32nd and last trip to the park and made for a event he would never forget.

Arnaud, 37, who has now moved to Nuneaton, Warks, said the momentous day started like any other morning with no hint of the drama to come.

He said: 'After six years in Malawi and 32 trips to Liwonde National Park, I was on my last game drive.

'It was a beautiful morning of June, the air was cold and crisp, and McLoud Kaliati (my guide and friend) and I were alone in the car.

'So far, we had had a very good drive: we had spotted a big herd of sable antelopes, the spoor of a young male rhino that had recently escaped from the breeding sanctuary and more amazingly, a herd of bushpigs eating the remains of a nine-foot long python.

'As we left the mopane woodland, we entered the floodplain by the Shire River. It is a very good spot for different antelopes and some days, elephants.

'It also attracts a lot of different birds - the bird list for the park is over 300 species - my favourite family of birds is the kingfisher and on a good boat ride along the river, I had managed to see five different species several times.

'McLoud parked the car close to the waterC'b,b's edge as there was a malachite kingfisher in the reeds about 15 feet from us.

'To make the picture more interesting, there was a female hippo in the background. I started shooting with my 500mm lens and realised that there was a tiny baby hippo with the female.

'After five very peaceful minutes and as I was still composing shots with the kingfisher and the hippos when all hell broke loose.

'A huge crocodile - probably over 12 foot - lunged at the hippo baby but maternal instincts are very strong in the animal kingdom and mother hippos are no exception.

'She turned very fast for such a bulky animal and met the crocodile head on.

'When I realised what happened, I turned the camera as quickly as possible and refocused to take the fight.

'The crocodile clamped his jaws on the bottom jaw of the mother instead of the delicious baby, it let go and tried lunging again only to be met by the angry mum again.

'They squared off, jaws agape a few more times before the crocodile realised that, having lost the element of surprise, there was no way he could get pass the mother hippo to eat the baby.

'It just swam away after a 45 seconds fight he was never going to win, with such a big and powerful mum, baby hippos donC'b,b't have much to fear.

'In 13 years of guiding, it was the first time Mcleod had seen a crocodile squaring up to an adult hippo. As for me, it was the perfect way to end a truly unforgettable last weekend in Liwonde.' Arnaud is now looking for a publisher to help him make a book about his amazing photographs and experiences in Africa. Liwonde National Park lies in the South of Malawi, a small country in Southern Africa.

The Park, which has an area of just over 200 miles square, allows tourists to see different species of antelopes, large herds of elephants and more than 300 bird species.

The Shire River is the most important feature of the park and boasts large concentrations of both hippos and crocodiles.

By Daily Mail Reporter

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