See a Leopard Outsmart a Hyena and Use Her Cub to Steal Food

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: December 4, 2022
© Jez Bennett/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

This is a fantastic example of a family working together to get one over on a rival predator to secure a tasty meal. As we join the action, we see a female leopard approach a (larger) hyena, intent on stealing some prey. The video notes describe these two animals as ‘eternal foes’ and we also learn that it was the leopard who originally caught the animal. The cheeky hyena had pinched it, thinking that they would be getting an easy meal. How wrong they were!

Leopards vs Hyenas

Filmed in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, this tussle took place on an open plain and was fairly aggressive and physical. The adult leopard and the hyena came to blows, with the larger hyena charging and diving at the leopard to try to keep her away from the food.

However, this leopard was not working alone. As she kept the hyena distracted, we can see her older cub picking up the prey in their mouth and trotting off with it!

Leopards are medium-sized wild cats found in sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia. They grow to a maximum of about 200 pounds and reach lengths of 75 inches. They can vary a lot in coloration but leopards who live in open grasslands usually have a light-yellow background coat as well as the famous black spots.

Leopards are described as opportunistic hunters and that means that they are more than happy to steal prey from other animals if the opportunity arises! They like medium-sized prey such as warthogs and small deer but also hunt reptiles, birds and rodents.

Hyena in woodland
Hyenas are primarily scavengers and often steal food

©Ondrej Prosicky/

Hyenas Stealing Prey

Hyenas are accomplished hunters and there are several species. Some types of hyenas are called maanhaar-jackals, and others are aardwolves which means “earth-wolves” in the Afrikaans and Dutch. They are carnivorous mammals with scraggly fur and large ears – their spine slopes downwards towards the back of the body as the hind legs are shorter than the front legs. It would be fair to say that they are not considered the world’s most attractive animal! They are a vocal species and can make a series of grunts and barks and some have the characteristic ‘laugh’.

They will catch their own prey but their primary method for getting food is scavenging. Meat makes up the largest part of their diet but when this is in short supply, they will supplement this with fruit. Any type of meat will do and they are famous for eating the whole carcass and that includes bones and hooves! Scientists marvel at how robust their digestive system is. They have reportedly been caught feeding on vehicle tires and tents discarded by humans!


Next up:

Watch These Hyenas Taunt and Steal From a Huge Male Lion

Watch This Donkey Drag a Hyena By Its Ear Like an Angry Mother

Watch This Male Lion Stealthily Ambush Sleeping Hyenas

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The Featured Image

Group of feeding hyenas
Hyenas eat the entire animal including bones
© Jez Bennett/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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