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The cycle of life on the banks of the Ganges

A being dies on the banks of the Ganges river and I could not imagine what would happen next.

When a being has life, the only thing that is guaranteed in this world is death. The cycle of life dictates so. And in nature the death of some means the life of others, the endless cycle of the food chain. All that is well known, but in Varanasi, I had the opportunity to see everything with my own eyes, and it was impressive. So, here I leave you this story, about a brief moment in which I could clearly see the cycle of life on the banks of the Ganges.

On the ghats facing the Ganges River

I was sitting on one of the ghats facing the Ganges River, watching people come and go, enjoying one of those few moments of total anonymity that I enjoyed during my stay in India. I was invisible enough to witness the food chain in full swing.

A rat dies

As I was saying, while watching people go by, suddenly in the distance I see a rat that comes out of nowhere, it’s lying on the floor and begins to convulse. It seemed like an imminent end.

A time came when it no longer struggled and its body lay limp on the ghat. It lasted a long time there, people passed by and nobody paid attention to it.

This little rat’s time has come

The puppy who just wanted to play

Until one of the many stray dogs that roam India paid some attention to it, there I thought that the body of the rodent would become food for the dog. But the attention was limited to trying to play with the lifeless body. After a while, the puppy got bored and left.

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The predator prowling

I was almost leaving the place, when I saw several birds surrounding the body of the rodent, they were black birds with orange and at that very moment I saw what, I thought, was a scavenger bird, turning around and going down slowly.

When the bird saw the rodent, it circled right towards it.

An unexpected twist

That’s right, I thought, the corpse has already become food and that’s how it was, but not as I expected. The bird was not a scavenger, but a bird of prey and, instead of starting to eat the rat on the floor, with a quick and agile movement it grabbed its body and took it away.

It took the rodent away

A moment that lasted a second

It was a very exciting moment, first because it did something I didn’t expect and second: I had only seen such a scene in documentaries. At last, I had been able to see a bird of prey in action, sink its talons into its prey and carry it off. Everything happened very fast.

There it goes with the prey

The fight in the air

I even had the spectacle of a fight in the air, in which another bird of the same species tried to steal the loot of its colleague, it happened rapidly, but I think it did not succeed. So, the bird in the photo was most likely able to carry the inert body back to the nest to feed and feed its chicks.

The bird flies away

The birds that were spared

An interesting detail that Vincent told me, which I did not observe because I was focused on the bird of prey, was that there were some black and orange birds, when they saw that the bird of prey was approaching they looked petrified. Surely, they thought “not me, please” and they must have felt relieved when they saw that it was the rodent that was taken away. An easy prey for the raptor in the end, since it could not resist.

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Surely thinking “I’m safe this time”

And so, the cycle of life continues in the Ganges

And that was how the death of one animal became the continuity of life of the other. The endless food chain.

There it goes

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