No lone hyena stands a chance against multiple lions.
On the dark continent of Africa, the lines between predators and prey are often blurred. Mostly because apex predators like leopards, cheetahs, lions and crocodiles are not picky about what they'll catch for dinner. If opportunity presents itself, carnivores are not afraid to down other carnivores on the plains of the African savanna.
In this video from Kgalagadi Nation Park on the South Africa/Botswana border, a brown hyena is just wandering around, minding its own business. That was, until it realizes it's just walked into a small lion pride that saw it coming.
The hyena stops in its tracks and then takes off as fast as it can with five hungry lions on its tail in a scene straight from the pages of National Geographic.
You can pinpoint the exact second that hyena started second-guessing all its life choices as it realized the big cat trap it was walking into. This footage was shot directly behind the cabin cameraman Louis Le Roux was staying at in the park when he noticed the lions slip in behind the cabin in the early hours of the morning. Unlike what was portrayed in Hollywood movies like "The Lion King," lions and hyenas seldom get along. In fact, they are often called "eternal enemies" by many.
No matter the species, whether they are striped hyenas, spotted hyenas, or the brown one featured in this video, these animals simply do not get along. Much of it has to do with the fact that hyenas are primarily scavengers. And the best scavenging in Africa is almost always going to be after a lion kill of an impala, zebra, or other prey item. It's a rivalry that experts say has been going on since the Pleistocene Era. For reference, that's over 35,000 years and counting. The biggest sports rivalries on earth have nothing on hyenas vs lions. It shows no signs of slowing anytime soon either. It's little wonder so many wildlife documentaries have focused on these animals. Whether it's the serengeti in Tanzania or the National Parks of South Africa, i's easy to find this conflict if you look in the right area!
While most people likely give the upper hand to lions, hyenas can and have killed lions in the past. However, it usually requires a group of hyenas against a lone lioness or other young lion for it to happen. Young male lions out on their own without a pride can be vulnerable to them if they aren't careful. Based on what we saw in this video, we'd say it was this hyena's lucky day to escape with its skin!
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