Watch a Hidden Leopard Hunt a Jackal, Hunting Birds

Written by Katie Melynn
Published: October 21, 2022
© Ondrej Chvatal/
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Leopards are known for being stealthy hunters. In this video, a leopard is able to stalk a jackal who is also hunting for his own dinner among a flock of birds.

The leopard crouches in tall grass on the African savannah. This video was taken in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, a wildlife preserve on the border of South Africa and Botswana. Leopards can thrive in a variety of environments, including savannahs like this one. They need plenty of places to stalk their prey and the tall grass provides just the right amount of cover.

Leopards tend to get close to their prey, just like in this video. Unlike other big cats, such as cheetahs, they do not engage in high-speed chases for food. Instead, they use their stealth and get very close to their prey. Leopards are carnivores and eat small to medium animals, such as this jackal.

This leopard crouches low to the ground and remains still. The jackal goes after a flock of birds and does not realize that the leopard is so close. Halfway through the video, the jackal even trots toward the leopard, unaware that it is waiting in the tall grass nearby.

Halfway through the video, the jackal even trots toward the leopard, unaware that it is waiting in the tall grass nearby.

©Robert Henry Hurn/

Hunting the Hunter

The jackal eventually pounces on a bird, ready to enjoy a tasty meal. The leopard uses the same moment to spring into action as well. In just a few seconds, the leopard closes the distance and takes down the jackal.

Everything happens so quickly that it can be hard to catch in the video. The first indication that things are heating up is the flock of birds taking off. While they are doing so in response to the jackal, they move away even faster as they realize that a leopard is also in the area. The leopard takes advantage of the distraction to go after the jackal.

His kill in his mouth, the leopard moves away at a brisk pace. He crosses back to the way he came from, ready to dig in. This is typical leopard behavior. They often retreat to the safety of denser vegetation or brush to eat so that they do not need to worry about other larger carnivores or fight off would-be scavengers from taking their meal.

The person taking the video follows along with the leopard but keeps some distance. Even though the leopard is focused on its meal and not likely to leave it to attack, he is still a wild animal. Giving wild animals their space is always a good idea.

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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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