Leopard and Hyena Play a Tug of War with the Remains of an Impala

Written by Chris Madden
Updated: October 20, 2023
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Unlucky Leopard Gets Yanked Out of a Tree by a Hungry Hyena!

In the captivating wildlife video below, a thrilling tug-of-war unfolds between a tenacious hyena and a determined leopard. They vie over the remains of an impala carcass. Perched atop a cracked and folded over tree trunk, the leopard clutches the prize tightly. It uses strong jaws and sharp claws, resisting the crafty hyena below.

Watch the Incredible Back and Forth Between These Two Strong Creatures!

With a firm grip on a dangling leg of the carcass, the hyena exerts its brute strength. It attempts to bring the feast within its reach. The leopard, however, holds its ground. It fiercely pulls the carcass back on top of the tree, refusing to relinquish its hard-earned meal.

What Do Leopards Eat?

Leopards are nocturnal, solitary hunters who often save their kills for later by dragging them into trees



As the intense struggle in the video below continues, the leopard’s position on the tree becomes increasingly precarious. Its grip begins to falter. In a sudden twist, the leopard slips off the tree. The battlefield shifts to the ground below. Both creatures now engage in a fierce confrontation, each vying to gain control of the prized remains.

Despite an initial advantage, the leopard finds itself disadvantaged on the ground. It lacks the leverage it once had. With sheer determination, the hyena gains the upper hand. It forcefully drags the leopard across the terrain, inching closer to victory.

As the video reaches its climax, the hyena manages to claim its prize. It triumphantly pulls it away from the leopard’s former perch atop the tree. The battle concludes, leaving viewers in awe of the raw power and survival instincts displayed by these remarkable animals.

This gripping encounter between the hyena and the leopard serves as a mesmerizing reminder. It portrays the fierce competition for survival in the wild and the relentless nature of the animal kingdom.

How Often Do Hyenas Look to Steal a Leopard’s Meal?

In the wild, leopards and hyenas often find themselves engaged in complex and competitive interactions. Both apex predators share overlapping territories, leading to occasional encounters over food resources. Hyenas, known for their cunning and adaptability, are notorious for their scavenging tendencies and relentless persistence in stealing kills from other predators, including leopards. As demonstrated in the exhilarating video below, hyenas can be opportunistic and will not hesitate to challenge a leopard for its hard-earned prey. These confrontations showcase the intense tug-of-war dynamics between these skilled hunters, with the leopard’s agility and stealth pitted against the hyena’s sheer strength and numbers. Such interactions highlight the constant struggle for survival in the animal kingdom, where each species employs its unique strategies to secure a meal and thrive in their challenging environment.

Why Do Some Animals Prefer Stealing Meals to Scavenge to Hunting?

Hyena in woodland

Hyenas are primarily scavengers and often steal food from other predators such as the leopard in the video below.

©Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.com

The distinction between scavenging and active hunting in the animal kingdom is driven by various ecological and evolutionary factors that have shaped each species’ survival strategies. Animals like hyenas often adopt a scavenger lifestyle due to several advantages it offers. Scavenging allows them to capitalize on the efforts of other predators, conserving energy and minimizing the risks associated with hunting. Hyenas, vultures, and crows are some examples of scavengers that have evolved specialized adaptations to efficiently locate and consume carcasses. Their keen senses, strong beaks, and digestive systems are well-suited for breaking down and consuming decaying flesh.

On the other hand, active hunting is characteristic of predators like leopards, cheetahs, and lions. These animals possess superior speed, strength, and stealth, which allow them to efficiently chase and capture live prey. Through evolution, these hunters have developed specialized features such as sharp claws, powerful jaws, and keen senses of sight and smell, making them adept at stalking and subduing their quarry.

The choice between scavenging and active hunting is also influenced by environmental factors. In regions where prey is abundant and easy to catch, animals may primarily rely on scavenging. Conversely, in areas with fewer opportunities for scavenging, the selective pressure favors the development of hunting abilities to secure sustenance.

Overall, scavengers and active hunters exemplify two distinct survival strategies shaped by the unique ecological niches they occupy and the adaptations they have developed over time to thrive in their respective environments.

The Hated Hyena is Smarter Than You Think!

Hyenas are remarkably intelligent creatures, possessing a complex and adaptable cognitive capacity that sets them apart in the animal kingdom. Their brain-to-body size ratio is similar to that of some primates, indicating a higher level of intelligence. As social animals, they live in tightly-knit clans with intricate hierarchies and social structures, displaying an exceptional ability to communicate and cooperate within the group. Their communication system involves a wide range of vocalizations, from whoops and cackles to growls and giggles, enabling effective coordination during hunts and confrontations.

Hyena Birth

Hyena cubs are born into their pack inheriting the hierarchy rank of their mothers. These tiny creatures need to quickly figure out the world around them to stay alive!

©Dave Pusey/Shutterstock.com

Hyenas exhibit impressive problem-solving skills, which are evident in their scavenging strategies and hunting techniques. They can overcome various obstacles in pursuit of food, from cracking open bones with their powerful jaws to climbing trees to access prey and escape danger. Their foraging abilities extend beyond mere opportunism, as they can recognize the unique calls of other predators and detect distress signals from potential prey, allowing them to converge on fresh kills quickly.

Furthermore, hyenas display a high degree of learning and memory capabilities. They remember the locations of valuable food sources, such as waterholes and food caches, which is crucial in their arid and ever-changing environments. Additionally, hyena cubs demonstrate impressive learning aptitude at a young age, as they engage in play-fighting and mimic adult hunting behaviors, essential for their future survival.

In conclusion, hyenas’ intelligence manifests through their complex social dynamics, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and remarkable memory. Their cognitive prowess contributes significantly to their survival in the wild, making them one of nature’s most fascinating and adaptive predators.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mohamed Hakem/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Chris is a lifelong animal lover with a passion for writing and a natural tendency to explore the internet in pursuit of new wildlife and nature facts! He is completing his Bachelors in Political Science at Concordia University in the Spring of 2024 after a science-centric high school career. Aside from studying and writing for A-Z Animals, he has a budding music career and enjoy spending time outside year-round, from swimming to skiing!

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