Apex predators it at the top of the food chain, but what happens in a battle between two of them?
In this video from the Latest Sightings YouTube account, a crocodile was minding its own business basking in the sunshine, when a male lion and a pack of younger big cats passed by on a dirt road in Entabeni Game Reserve in Waterberg, South Africa. Suddenly, the adult lion boldly attacked the crocodile with the rest of the pride supporting him in provoking it.
Connor Dawes, a 15-year-old student, detailed to Latest Sightings what he and his family saw. "I was shocked that a lion would even think of taking on a crocodile. I wasn't really worried for the crocodile - that was until the lion grabbed its back leg and pulled it away from the water," he said. "Eventually, the crocodile managed to escape and I was relieved that we wouldn't see the lion kill the crocodile. The crocodile swam away and the lions moved off and lay down as if nothing had happened. I have never seen anything like this before. Even our game ranger said she had never seen or heard of anything like this happening."
How Do Lions and Crocs Match Up?
Although lions are apex predators, crocodiles (as fellow apex predators) sit pretty high on the list of animals that can successfully attack lions, especially if the battleground is in water. Crocs, historically known as "Lizards of the River Nile," can grow up to almost 23 feet in length and weigh around one ton (2,204 pounds), while fully-grown lions can weigh up to 600 pounds. And crocs are incredible swimmers, so lions are the most vulnerable to their attacks while drinking water or crossing streams.
On land, a pride of lions has a better chance at attacking a crocodile than one alone. Lions will take advantage of making a meal out of a crocodile if the opportunity presents itself. In this case, the croc was sunbathing on land to absorb heat from the environment and maintain its temperatures, but this means that its metabolism was likely lower making it move a bit slower.
Nevertheless, this crocodile manage to slip away despite the odds not being in its favor. And Connor reported that it was doing just fine. "We saw the crocodile the next day swimming in the dam," he said. "And friends who visited two weeks later also confirmed that the crocodile was still doing alright."
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