See This Furious Elephant Sort Out a Lion-Hyena Squabble by Scaring Them Both

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: December 7, 2023
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A confrontation has broken out between a pack of hyenas and a lion. As you probably guessed, food is at the root of the problem. The hyena pack or the lion has secured a kill and would like to feast on the carcass in peace. However, they are being bothered by the other predators. It’s not unusual for lions and hyenas to fall out this way as they are competitors for the same prey species. It’s more uncommon for an elephant to become involved. That said, the elephant has no problem in scaring away both carnivores. Please take a look at how quickly they race away!

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Is This How Lions and Hyenas Normally Behave?

Yes, this is typical behavior for both lions and hyenas. They are fierce competitors for the same prey. In this clip, a pack of spotted hyenas is taking on a single lion. This sort of conflict can go either way.

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Sometimes, a pack of hyenas can get the better of a lone lion who has to relinquish the kill. On the other hand, if several lions are defending a carcass, it is unlikely that even a pack of hyenas could overcome them.

This behavior is either called scavenging or kleptoparasitism and is common in nature. It’s easy to see why animals do it. It enables them to secure a meal without having to go to catch it themselves. Lions are accomplished scavengers and are perfectly happy to steal kills from other animals, including hyenas, cheetahs, and even from other lions.

It is a myth that spotted hyenas scavenge all of their prey. Most of their diet is made up of animals that they have hunted themselves. Nevertheless, they will opportunistically scavenge from other carnivores. They have to be quite brave to take on a lion, though!

Do Elephants Normally Tolerate Hyenas and Lions?

Hyenas versus lions

Hyenas and lions will both target elephant calves.

©Staincliffe/iStock via Getty Images

A fit, adult elephant has nothing to fear from a lion or a hyena. However, lions know that both predators will target elderly, sick, or very young elephants. Elephant mothers are very protective of their calves and do not like to see lions or hyenas anywhere near them. The elephant in this clip is likely a herd member with young calves. Therefore, the elephant would prefer it if the hyenas and the lions conducted their argument elsewhere!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Guenter Guni/iStock via Getty Images


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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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