Mama Giraffe Can’t Believe the Cheek of a Lion Grabbing Her Calf

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: December 9, 2023
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This mother giraffe made the mistake of taking her eyes off her calf for a few seconds. Ever the opportunist, a lion used her lapse in concentration to launch an unsuccessful attack. Now, the big cat has to deal with an irate mother giraffe who cannot believe the cheek of the predator.

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Do Lions Normally Hunt Giraffes?

Lions are carnivores and need a lot of meat protein to keep them healthy. They mainly target medium to large ungulates (animals with hooves) in Africa. This includes zebras and warthogs. In between larger kills, they target smaller mammals, including mice.

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A single lion can usually take down an elderly or ill adult giraffe. However, it would take a pride of lions to tackle a fit adult. The problem is that the lions usually kill using a bite to a neck – and giraffe necks are high up!

The situation with giraffe calves is different. They are much closer to the ground so that a lone lion can tackle them. However, as we see in this clip, they must get past the mother first! Giraffes are strong animals with a hefty kick that could cause a nasty injury to a lion!

Which Animals Can Kill Giraffes?

lion hunts

©GUIDO BISSATTINI/Shutterstock.com

Lions usually target young or sick giraffes.

Giraffes are not easy to kill because they are large and live in groups. However, lions are not the only predators that can successfully hunt these majestic creatures. A group of hyenas working together can sometimes bring down an adult giraffe. However, this only works if the giraffe is sick or injured. Often, hyenas target newborn giraffes if they become separated from their mothers.

Leopards are very agile and accomplished hunters. They also target weak and vulnerable giraffes. However, they only do this when there is no other prey available. They would prefer to hunt elands, birds, and baboons.

Packs of wild dogs, including African wild dogs, have been seen preying on giraffes. The packs use cooperative hunting to target these huge creatures. However, as with the other predators, they are unlikely to take on a fit adult giraffe. They are much more likely to polish off the carcass left by a lion.

Finally, crocodiles have been seen preying on giraffes. Giraffes will only be hunted by crocodiles near watering holes and rivers. The reptile lurks in the murky water and attacks the unsuspecting giant as it stoops to drink.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Michel VIARD


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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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