This Incredibly Agile Lion Leaps Into a Tree to Snatch a Baboon

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: November 30, 2023
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Taking refuge in a tree is usually a safe bet for baboons when they are being pursued by predators. This baby baboon headed to where they felt safest – the branches of a tree. Unfortunately, they were not fast or strong enough to scale to the higher branches in time. Also, at such a young age, they probably didn’t realize that lions can jump – very high! It takes minimal effort for this agile lion to reach up with its front paws and snatch the baby baboon from the tree. Sadly, what happens next is inevitable.

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Do Lions normally Eat Baboons?

Yes, lions are carnivores and generalist hunters. They can catch a wide range of prey on land and, as we see in this clip, sometimes in trees. Lions also learn from their mistakes. They often become adept at catching one or two abundant species in their ecosystems. Therefore, if they live in an area with many baboons, they will become experts at seeing these primates. It’s unlikely this is the first baboon the lion in this clip has ever caught!

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When not catching baboons, lions target animals like antelope, gazelle, and zebra. They supplement their more significant kills with fish, reptiles, birds, and even insects such as termites.

How Do Lions Find Their Prey?

lion hunts

Lions use a stalk-and-ambush technique when hunting.


These baboons were making a huge noise, making them difficult to miss! Lions usually use a stalk-and-ambush technique. They follow their prey for some distance, keeping their body low and crouching so they cannot be seen. They are happy to spend at least half an hour getting themselves in the best position to attack. Their coloring blends in well with vegetation, and they can be tricky to spot. Once they are within striking range, they launch their attack. Lions can produce huge bursts of speed, reaching 37 miles per hour. However, they can’t keep this up for very long!

With smaller animals, such as this baby baboon, they kill their target by using their long canine teeth to sever the spinal cord. Lions usually feed immediately at the site of the kill or, as we see here, they may move to a bit more peaceful place. This lion probably wanted to escape the rest of the baboons if they launched an attack while it was enjoying its meal.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © LuCaAr/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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