Armed with deadly venom capable of killing humans, the boomslang snake is a feared predator in the wild.
But the tables were well and truly turned when this unsuspecting reptile was ambushed by a mongoose.
The boomslang was resting in a tree in Namibia’s Etosha National Park when the mongoose crept up and went in for the kill.
Ambushed: A mongoose climbs a tree and creeps up on a deadly boomslang snake as it prepares to go in for the kill in Namibia
Tables are turned: Armed with deadly venom capable of killing humans, the boomslang snake is a feared predator in the wild
Sensing blood: The mongoose clambers onto the snake and edges closer and closer to the serpent’s head
Slithering in vain, the snake tried to shake the mongoose off.
But unable to move, it wasn’t long until the mongoose got close enough to take a bite and sank its teeth into its prey.
The images were taken by Elana Erasmus, from Pretoria in South Africa.
In its sights: Slithering in vain, the snake tries to shake the mongoose off, but to no avail
Predator to prey: The dramatic encounter was captured by South African photographer Elana Erasmus in Etosha National Park in Namibia
Elana, 48, was on a guided safari at the game reserve in Nambia when she saw the encounter about to unfold.
She said: ‘We were on our way back to camp after the morning’s photography session when our guide spotted a slender mongoose attacking a boomslang in a tree next to road.
‘We realised immediately that this was a very special sighting.
‘Our cameras were already tucked away in their dust covers and we were frantically trying to get our equipment out and ready.
‘The mongoose would pursue the boomslang, continuously biting it on its head while the boomslang tried in vain to get away from its attacker.’
Fatal blow: Eventually, the mongoose gets close enough to take a bite and sink its teeth into its prey
‘Special sighting’: Elana Erasmus, 48, was on a guided safari at the game reserve in Nambia when she saw the encounter about to unfold
She added: ‘At times, the boomslang would curl itself around the slender mongoose in an attempt to defend itself or possibly to kill it with a snake bite.
‘But it was very clear that the slender mongoose was the predator and that this time, the snake was the prey.
‘A few times the mongoose would fall out of the tree just to clamber back to continue its relentless attack on the boomslang.
‘After a while the boomslang looked tired and worst for wear. It was clear that the mongoose had the upper hand.’
Mrs Erasmus said: ‘After a while the boomslang looked tired and worst for wear. It was clear that the mongoose had the upper hand’