Showdown of the Kings: Watch Two Lions Come Face-to-Face with a Cobra

An equatorial spitting cobra with its head raised and hood open
© Reptilian/

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: November 17, 2023

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You’re about to see a video in which multiple species of animals are lucky to get out alive. The scene starts with two beautiful lionesses looking down a dirt path. We can see a snouted cobra slither toward the big cats. 


Rare encounter! A safari wildlife guide captured the dramatic moment two lions came face-to-face with a snouted cobra as it was hunting a lizard in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. 🦁🐍🦎 #abc7la #abc7eyewitness #news #animalsoftiktok #animals #wildanimals #lions #snoutedcobra #cobra #lizard #southafrica #krugernationalpark

♬ original sound – ABC7LA

Kruger’s National Park in South Africa is no stranger to these creatures. The snouted cobra is one of the most venomous snakes on the continent. Although they have a habit of attacking rats, snakes, and birds, what’s stopping one from attacking a lion?

Because of their powerful, quick-acting venom, snout cobras are regarded as being extremely hazardous. To scare off a threat, this snake expands its enormous hood and confronts it. 

Let’s be honest, there aren’t too many wild animals that want to battle with a lion. They’re apex predators for a reason and even snakes fear them. Eventually, we see the serpent slither away, leaving the big cats perplexed.

Once the snake is gone, a lizard is crawling around on the dirt trail. Again, the lions look as if they’re seeing an alien from another planet. Luckily for all parties, the snake escapes the lions, and the cats and lizards are safe from the venomous serpent. 

Is it Normal Behavior for Lions to Eat Snakes?


Female lions are the ones that do the hunting.


Although a lion can easily kill a snake using its powerful jaws and claws, these animals won’t eat snakes. They’re often too small and simply not worth the effort. Instead, these apex predators opt for large game such as zebras, antelope, and buffalo.

While a snouted cobra is venomous, a single bite won’t take down a full-grown lion. That being said, if enough venom is injected into the big cat, it would quickly be fatal. What’s shocking in the video is the fact the snake doesn’t attack the lizard. Perhaps the quick movement of a strike would’ve caused the lions to pounce as well. 

What Happens When a Lion Gets Bit by a Cobra?

Photo by Dr. Anand Titus and Geeta N Pereira 12 - The Mystical King Cobra and Coffee Forests Author Michael Allen Smith from Seattle, USA

Lions are not immune to cobra venom.

©Michael Allen Smith from Seattle, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 – Original / License

A lion would probably not survive if it were bitten by a cobra.

Cobras are very venomous snakes, and their venom can be deadly for most animals, including humans. Lions have no natural protection against cobra venom and could face severe consequences if bitten. Similar to a cat or dog.

While some animals, like mongooses, honey badgers, hedgehogs, and pigs, have resistance to venom, lions are not among them.

Signs of a snake bite in felines may include:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Pale or blue gums
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Shaking and twitching
  • Urine is red or brown

More Animals at Kruger National Park

An adult snouted cobra on grass. The snake has a large scale on the rostrum or nose, giving it the name.

This snake has a large scale on the rostrum or nose, giving it its name.

© Roodt

People from all over the world travel to visit this wildlife haven. There, you’re able to take excursions and see the big game. There are also buffalo, zebra, giraffes, crocodiles, and plenty of wild birds. 

Visitors can stay in a safari tent and completely immerse themselves in nature. There are several videos online that showcase what being at Kruger National Park in South Africa is like. 

Do you want to see the perplexing situation between a venomous snake, two lions, and a lizard? Who doesn’t? Keep on scrolling to watch the full video. 

How Large Are Snouted Cobras?

The snouted cobra is a relatively large snake species. It ranges in length from 3.9 to 5.9 feet normally, but it can reach up to 8.2 feet long. However, most of the time, these reptiles won’t grow any larger than 6 feet in length.

It’s called the snouted cobra because it has an especially large rostral scale on the end of its snout. The extra strong scale helps this snake as it pushes its nose into the ground to burrow.

A notable feature of this snake is the dark scale beneath each eye resembling a tear. Plus, it has an especially large hood compared to other types of cobras.

How to identify a snouted cobra:

  • Solid yellowish-gray or blue/black scales
  • The possible alternating pattern of yellow and brown bands
  • Yellow belly with dark splotches
  • Dark rings around the throat area
  • Prominent scale on the end of its snout
  • A dark scale resembling a teardrop beneath each eye
  • An extra-large or giant hood compared to other cobras

The snouted cobra is highly dangerous. The venomous bite of this snake can cause a human to go into respiratory failure and, if not treated, eventually cause death.

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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