These Hyenas Don’t Fear an Elephant, but Run When Lions Near

Written by Katie Melynn
Published: November 23, 2022
© Vladimir Turkenich/
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Continue Reading To See This Amazing Video

The animal kingdom knows hyenas for scavenging around other animals. That means that they are no strangers to larger animals and may get quite close to species that would normally make others keep their distance.

In this video, a group of hyenas focuses on a buffalo that has been killed. According to the video’s narrator, a lion took down the buffalo the day before. As scavengers, they took advantage of what was left when they came across the buffalo’s remains. At least six adult hyenas crowd around what is left of the buffalo to eat. They stay close to the water and within a few seconds of the video’s beginning, something new catches their eye.

Are Hyenas Dogs
Hyenas are opportunistic eaters, so when they see a carcass, they take advantage of it.

©gualtiero boffi/

A giant elephant walks up to the group. A few of the scavenging eaters hang out close to the elephant, who trumpets at them. They don’t move, however. Elephants are herbivores and do not go after animals as prey. They are also not in competition with hyenas for food. This appears to be a lone elephant but there may be a herd nearby, which would explain the elephant trumpeting at the hyenas.

The elephant is much larger than they are, and has two tusks that it can use to fight off would-be predators. In general, hyenas prefer to scavenge rather than take down live prey. But they would still be a formidable threat to a young or injured elephant that couldn’t defend itself. The elephant trumpets and uses its large body to encourage the pack to give it space. They keep their distance but still stay in the area.

The hyenas scatter when a female lion comes around. The lioness walks nonchalantly toward the kill. The hyena closest is the first to realize how close she is and bolts up. Within a few seconds, all of the hyenas leave the area. A male lion follows behind her and they enjoy a small snack.

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© Vladimir Turkenich/

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie is a Teaching Artist with The APEX Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland and was awarded an Author Fellowship to Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She also enjoys spending time with her three kids and cat.

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