Huge Male Lion Climbs Halfway Up a Tree to Snatch a Leopard’s Stashed Kill

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Updated: November 15, 2023

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Lion (Panthera leo) from the front
© R. Maximiliane/

Our next YouTube video takes us to South Africa. This lion sighting was at Thornybush Private Game Reserve (also commonly known as Thornybush Private Nature Reserve.) This game reserve is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. This video was uploaded by the TopgunB YouTube channel. They offer their description of what happened in the video below. 

“Watching a sleeping female leopard at the base of a high tree containing her Impala kill when a large male lion at first stalked then ran at the leopard chasing it away. The lion then scaled the very tall tree and retrieved the remains of the kill.” 

The Great Theft

At the start of this video, at the bottom, we see a leopard resting on this game reserve. However, it’s not long before we see that his eyes open, and he looks nervously ahead. Something for sure has his attention, and it is enough to make him quickly leap to his paws and run away from the camera view. 

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Simultaneously, a large male lion appears and looks straight up into the tree that this leopard has just run up. What we cannot see just yet is that this leopard has killed another animal and has it high up in the tree. This kill will feed this leopard later, or so she thought. However, this male lion has sniffed it out and is looking to steal that kill. 

We want to take a side note here to make mention of the beauty of this lion’s eyes. At 16 seconds, this feline looks straight at the camera. One eye is a glossy blue or grey (as if it had been injured.) And the other eye is a golden brown. 

The lion maps out how he is going to get up this tree. He walks around the tree so that he can see it from all angles and which way would be best. Once he has figured that out, without hesitation, we see him leap halfway up this tree! He climbs the rest of the one, grabs the kill, and then leaps back down. 

Why Do Lions Steal a Kill?

How Long Do Lions Live

Lions can run up to 50 miles per hour.

©Stephanie Periquet/

While it is common for lions to do their hunting in pride, there are occasions when lions will steal a kill from other animals, such as hyenas, leopards, or other predators. We see this happening in the video posted below. 

It could be the necessity of the steal. There are shortages of food in the wild, just as sometimes we as humans find certain foods have shortages in the grocery store. It could also be a steal of convenience. It could be this lion just happened to know this leopard had stored a kill, and he thought, why go hunt when I have a meal right here?

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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