Watch a Battle Between Five Hungry Lions and a Brave Herd of Buffalo

Having Trouble Watching? Unfortunately sometimes creators disable or remove their video after we publish. Try to Watch on YouTube

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: November 10, 2023

Share on:

Continue reading for our analysis...

Lion Buffalo Attack
© Jez Bennett/

At the start of the action, we join a group of skinny, and therefore hungry lions who have picked up the trail of a herd of buffalo. The hunters have been following the herbivores for some distance and it is very nearly time for an attack to be launched. So, what are these lions waiting for?

The answer is that they need to identify a suitable target. This will be a buffalo that is weaker and/or slower than the others. This may be because it is young, old, sick, or injured. Sometimes all they need is a buffalo that is not paying attention and can therefore be separated from the rest of the herd. The best time to do this is at night. For animals such as buffalo, there is safety in numbers, and getting cut off from your mates is a potentially fatal mistake! Scroll down to see the full hunt sequence.

Why Do Lions Hunt Buffalo?

male lion

A large male lion can weigh up to 550 pounds!

18,079 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?


Buffalo are large herbivores and their flesh provides exactly the correct nutrition for a large carnivore such as a lion. Also, lions are obligate carnivores which means they have to eat the bodies of other animals to stay alive.

The other advantage of catching a buffalo is that it is large! This means that several lion mouths can be fed and that the lions will not have to hunt again for a while. A male lion needs around 17 pounds of meat a day and females need around 11 pounds.

Can a Buffalo Beat a Lion?


Even apex predators like lions can’t overpower an entire buffalo herd.

©Peter Betts/

Yes, there are many occasions where a buffalo has got the better of a lion. All of these lions are risking serious injury and even death by taking on such a large animal. Lions can be trampled beneath the buffalo’s hooves. Also, they can receive fatal injuries from sharp horns. Some lions have been tossed in the air by a furious buffalo!

The other problem for the lions is that buffalos are very protective of each other. As we see in this clip, they will return to help out their herd mate if they get in trouble. If the stricken animal can stay on its feet for long enough, the herd will likely return and drive the lions away.

In this case, however, the lions were just too strong (there were several males in the hunting party) and too numerous for the buffalo to cope with.

How Big Are Cape Buffalo?

Cape or African Buffalo bull enjoying a mud bath, Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

Even though they are very large, cape buffalo are also fast.

©Photography Phor Phun/

Cape buffalos are large animals, standing at a height of 4-6 feet and weighing between 500 to 1,500 pounds. Females are on the lighter side, usually weighing between 500 to 1,000 pounds, while males can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. At birth, cape buffalos are relatively small, weighing between 44-88 pounds. They grow quickly, reaching an adult size within around 18 months. Cape buffalos can also reach a length of up to 10 feet, including their horns, which can be up to three feet long. While the horns of males and females differ, their size and weight are similar.

Cape buffalos are one of the largest species of bovine, and their size is an important factor in their ability to survive in the wild. This size also makes them one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. Despite their large size, cape buffalos are surprisingly agile and can run at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour. They also possess a keen sense of smell and hearing which helps them detect predators.

By being one of the largest species of bovine, cape buffalos have adapted to be able to survive in the wild. Their size makes them a formidable opponent, and their agility allows them to run away from predators. In addition, their keen senses of smell and hearing allow them to detect potential threats. All of these traits combine to make cape buffalos one of the most dangerous animals in Africa.

Share this post on:
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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.