Surviving Summer


blog post photo

© Aquavision TV Productions cc

In August, Zambia’s Luangwa River becomes an unsettling battleground as both hunter and hunted struggle to survive. Animals are pushed to their limits as they endure the blistering sun, high temperatures, receeding rivers and lack of water. And hippos, lions and crocodiles are forced together in an area of just one square mile…

Lions are drawn to the last remaining pools of water and must drink despite the massive crocodiles and hippos lurking beneath the surface. While big cats can survive on the moisture from their prey, sweltering desert conditions have limited their hunting opportunities.

Photo: A lioness carrying one of her cubs in the Zambia summer heat.

blog post photo

© Aquavision TV Productions cc

Hippos dehydrate faster than any other mammal, and as river levels fall in Africa’s 100-degree weather, they are feeling the heat. A hippo mother is fiercely protective of her calf, and the proximity of a big cat predator makes her uneasy.

But there’s more on the hippo’s mind than just a nearby lion – her young calf is also vulnerable to crocodiles. Crocs in this region can be the length of two grown men and the weight of five. Their bone-crushing bite force is about 2,500 pounds per square inch. And while crocs are no threat to adult hippos, young calves are vulnerable.

Follow the story of these three wild animals as they endure extreme temperatures in a fight to survive.

Tune into Deadly Instincts: Deadly Summer on Friday, December 17th at 9 PM et/pt on Nat Geo WILD!

Video Preview: In Zambia, this poor hippo has fought off a lion attack, only to become overwhelmed by her wounds in the sweltering, summer temperatures.