Continue reading for our analysis...
- Crocodiles and lions are both apex predators each with a distinct set of advantages over the other. However, given their fierce natures, neither is averse to taking on the other when the opportunity arises.
- Crocodiles have a powerful tail and formidable jaws lined with sharp teeth and are virtually unmatched in the water.
- Lions on the other hand are incredibly agile on land, ferocious, and tend to hunt cooperatively.
In the case of this crocodile, he was cornered by a team of menacing lions—but he was courageous.
This video starts with an eerie calmness. It’s a wildlife scene and you can hear muffled commentary behind the camera. A crocodile is on a grassy area a few feet from a lake just behind him. Just ahead of him are two lions scoping him out. The video cuts forward and suddenly there is a team of five lions surrounding the crocodile.
One of the lions on the left approaches the crocodile and quickly darts back when the crocodile looks over. Multiple lions let out low, threatening growls. Two other lions approach the crocodile from the front and side, cornering him.
As the two more aggressive lions approach, the surrounding team of lions grows more interested. Another lion attempts to approach the crocodile with a low growl, darting forward and then stepping back as the crocodile strikes at him.
The crocodile stands his ground, his face reaching forward and upward, keeping his gaze steady on the growing threats surrounding him. The lions have increased in number, with now a total of six surrounding the crocodile.
Only two of the lions have attempted to approach the crocodile with aggression, and with very little action as of yet, the other lions seem to lose interest and start walking away from the croc.
It appears they’re counting on one of the more aggressive lions to strike first, so they can move in. There’s one lion that keeps looking back. She’s perhaps the leader of the pack.
She’s not ready to let this one go. Alone, she approaches the croc again and stands close by. Encouraged by her persistence, the other lions return.
They attempt to paw at the croc, but he has had enough. In a flash, he snaps his jaws loudly (a sound you’d certainly never want to hear in person), and thrashes his body to the right and then to the left to snap again. He is letting all those lions know if he goes down, he’s taking as many of them down as he can with him.
As he thrashes away from one lion, the other takes the opportunity to bite at the croc’s back. Feeling that first blow, the croc quickly turns around and retreats into the water as the team of lions rushes up behind him, large paws grasping at his tail.
The croc manages to plunge into the water just in time to safety. The group of lions stares off into the lake the crocodile disappeared into, and a hippopotamus can be heard in the background, sounding like he’s laughing at the situation.
It adds a touch of comedic relief amid a tense moment. The lions didn’t get their meal, but that croc got to live another day.
Do Lions Normally Attack Crocodiles?
We know their distant feline cousins in the Amazon have a penchant for snacking on fresh caiman. But what about lions? How do they feel about fresh crocodile steak?
Pretty enthusiastic, it turns out. Younger crocodiles do turn up on lions’ menus along with buffaloes, antelopes, and warthogs, with the smaller sizes of these reptiles rendering them more vulnerable to these powerful felines.
Lion Vs Crocodile
Several videos abound of jaguars attacking and subduing caimans. What about lions? Are they as skilled as their South American relatives at taking on caimans’ African cousins?
It all depends. Lions are possessed of immense strength, agility, and those ferocious claws and fangs, not to mention a bite force of 650 psi. On land with a pride of experienced hunters close by, a lone crocodile might end up as lunch.
Crocodiles on the other hand possess explosive attack speed, terrifying fangs, and a bite force of 3,700 psi which dwarfs that of their feline adversaries. One lone lion may not do so well surrounded by these reptiles capable of weighing 1,650 pounds and reaching 20 feet.
It all boils down to size, the number of foes, and the location of the battle. However, lions generally know better than to place themselves in such dicey circumstances.
What Other Predators Attack Crocodiles?
Apart from lions, what other predators are likely to make life rather difficult for these toothy reptiles? Wildlife photographers have been stunned to find leopards taking on these outsized carnivores and gaining the upper hand too. Further proof of just how unfussy leopards are in their pursuit of a full stomach.
In 2002, onlookers were astonished to find a leopard battling a young crocodile in South Africa, six years later a leopard was seen to venture right into the croc’s watery lair, emerge with a struggling victim, subdue it, and drag it off from the scene of the struggle. And in 2017, at South Luangwa National Park, in Zambia, a large leopard was seen heading for the river for a refreshing drink. When it returned, it was dragging a crocodile in its jaws. Proof that apex predators can fall prey to unexpected foes.
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