Watch a Leopard Give Up His Warthog When Two Male Lions Show Up

Written by Rachael Monson
Updated: August 30, 2023
© iStock.com/lightstock
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Key Points:

  • Leopards have a diverse diet, including animals like antelope, gazelle, guinea fowl, lizards, fish, and dung beetles.
  • They show a preference for hoofed animals such as antelope and gazelle.
  • After a successful hunt, leopards often carry their prey’s carcass up into a tree.

We enter the Kruger National Park in South Africa to see a leopard attempting to kill a warthog. The warthog’s screams bring two huge male lions to the scene. One of the lions attacks the smaller cat and bowls it over. The startled cat flees for his life while the second lion runs in to kill the warthog. The lions take the kill and an onlooker yells “Has he gone? No, no, no!” We then cut to the leopard looking on from afar, panting after his near-death experience. It goes hungry but lives to hunt another day.

What an exciting showdown! Scroll down to watch.

Leopard drinking water
Leopards prey on many animals such as warthogs, antelopes, birds, and fish.

©Rudi Hulshof/Shutterstock.com

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What do leopards eat?

Leopards choose from a variety of prey animals aside from warthogs. They prefer hoofed animals like antelope and gazelle. They also will eat smaller things like guinea fowl, lizards, fish, and even dung beetles. When they make a kill, they will usually carry the carcass up into a tree. They have very strong jaws, neck muscles, and legs that allow them to do this. The goal is to protect their meals from other predators. Lions and hyenas will steal meals from them. So will scavengers like vultures and jackals.

Has a leopard ever killed a lion?

Adult lions outweigh leopards by a few hundred pounds.

©keith hudson/Shutterstock.com

Let’s start with how these two big cats stack up against each other.

Size

Adult leopards can weigh in at 66-168 pounds. Compared to a lion weighing as much as 550 pounds, leopards are at a huge disadvantage on the size front. Lions are also about twice the height of leopards. This height and weight advantage means that a lion could overpower the smaller cat with ease.

Speed and Endurance

Both cats can run very fast and are agile. The leopard wins the speed race topping out at about 40-50 mph. This means that it is much more likely for them to flee than to pick a fight with a lion, as we see in the video. The lion has much greater endurance due to its hunting style. The leopard might be faster, but if the lion continues to chase, it will tire out and be more vulnerable.

Special Skills

Leopards are excellent climbers and can even climb down trees face-first. Lions are much too heavy to climb well. This gives leopards a huge advantage should they want to drop from a tree onto the back of a lion to kill it. Yet, this situation is unlikely.

The lion has powerful paws that can knock a prey animal’s feet right out from under them. Using this tactic could allow the lion to get a good bite and make the kill.

So, has a leopard ever killed a lion?

The technical answer is yes. Leopards will kill lion cubs that trespass into their territory whenever they can. They see these youngsters as a threat to their ability to live, hunt, and breed. Lions will also kill any leopard cubs they find for the same reason. We couldn’t find any evidence of a leopard killing a lion much older than a few months. Lions are the clear winners in this fight should it occur.

Watch the Incredible Encounter Below!

While cheetahs are known for being devasting hunters, watch as this one gives up its meal for two other lions that responded to the distress call of the wounded animal seen in the video. Watch until the end, it may surprise you!


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About the Author

Rachael is a lifelong animal lover who has worked in the veterinary industry since 2012. Once she started working at a veterinary clinic, she never looked back. She started as a groomer and quickly moved up into a veterinary assistant position. She constantly pushed for training and knowledge about veterinary medicine and nursing care. Furthermore, she absolutely loves her position as a seasoned veterinary assistant, saving animal lives and educating owners. After 12 years as a veterinary assistant, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Rachael determined she would need to cut back her hours and find a less physically demanding side hustle. That's how she ended up here, freelance writing for a-z-animals.com! Rachael shares her home with her adoring husband, a beautiful Bengal cat named Citrine, and a handsome Basset Hound x Pomeranian Mix dog named Pepsi. She works full-time as a veterinary assistant/receptionist and writes in her free time. Rachael's dream in life is to become a cat show judge with The International Cat Association (TICA) and/or Cat Fanciers' Association (CFA). Judges get to travel the world and meet beautiful Purebred cats from every continent. Meeting the people that love their cats as much as she does is also a huge positive of the cat fancy. Rachael bred and raised Bengal cats under her cattery name Nemera Bengals for about 8 years before a cross-country move meant she had to stop. She hopes to have a Bengal breeding program again in the future.

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