Watch a Hunting Leopard Become a Scaredy-Cat 30 Feet up a Tree After a Baboon Charges

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: April 2, 2023
© Soren Wolf/
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Key Points

  • Owing to their status as predators it isn’t often that we picture leopards having to turn tail and scrabble for safety.
  • However, it turns out that not even these formidable carnivores are immune to fright, especially when faced with a particularly aggressive species determined to put up a fight.
  • Baboons are pretty tough themselves and this leopard might think twice before taking one on again!

More than three million people have viewed this leopard learn a valuable lesson. This nerve-wracking footage shows a leopard attempting to hunt a baboon up a tree – but things go very badly wrong! The baboon refuses to give up and turns around to confront the leopard in a very aggressive way that totally startles this big cat. As the leopard retreats, they lose their footing and end up clinging onto the branches in a very undignified way!

Things get even worse as the leopard’s front limbs slip from the branch and they plummet to the forest floor. Luckily, this cat has not used up all of its nine lives. At the end of the video, we see them sloping back into the undergrowth. Hopefully, they will take more care when they take on a baboon again!

Hunting Baboons at Night

close up of an olive baboon
Baboons are found in Africa and Asia.

© bowman

This footage was taken in the lower Zambezi National Park, which is located upstream from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and stretches for around 50 kilometers along the Zambezi River. It provides a rich variety of habitats and is home to lots of large mammals including big cats, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and, of course, baboons.

Baboons are found in Africa and Asia and are very powerfully built animals. They can hunt and kill gazelle if they choose to. However, they have poor eyesight and if this leopard had chosen to hunt at night, they would have had the element of surprise and would have probably overpowered this baboon. Also, baboons spend most of their time on the ground and this would have been a more sensible place to try to hunt them!

Leopard Hunting Style

Leopards are excellent ambush predators.


Leopards are skilled hunters. They are carnivores and prefer medium-sized prey. But the secret to the leopard’s success as a species is that they will eat just about anything. In fact, leopards will eat 90 different species, making it easier to list what they will not eat! This means that they are not dependent on any particular food source and makes them able to adapt to changes and loss in habitats better than many other species.

They are also excellent nocturnal ambush predators. So, why on earth the leopard in this video decided to hunt a baboon in daylight, we are not sure! Leopards hunt alone and have amazing hearing and eyesight. They move slowly towards their target in the same way as a domestic cat stalks a toy. Once they are around 10 feet away from their prey, they pounce with deadly speed and clamp their victim’s throat (or head) in their jaws until the prey gives in. Then, they drag it into a tree to devour it and store it for snacking on later!

Do Baboons Normally Take on Big Cats?

Baboon Teeth- Yawning Baboon
Baboons have sharp fangs and claws and occasionally dabble in a carnivorous lifestyle


In spite of their status as primates, baboons have a well-deserved reputation for violence. Unlike several members of that rather large family, they happen to indulge in a carnivorous diet and are especially fond of hunting young gazelles.

However, their predatory capabilities pale in comparison to those of lions and leopards which consider them prey. That said, male baboons do take every opportunity to antagonize leopards although they will flee to terminal branches to escape their aggression, in the event of any danger.

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Contrary to the violent and aggressive image portrayed in Hollywood, wolves are not dangerous predators, and according to Smith (the man in the above video), the real threat comes from lions, which are known for their unpredictable behavior and bad temper; Smith, a wolf expert and also known as “Lion Dad,” works as an animal handler and tour guide at Wild Animal Adventures Park, where he educates visitors on the gentle side of these majestic yet potentially dangerous animals, even sharing an affectionate moment with the park’s lion, Zella, who sometimes suckles on his thumb.

The two wolf cubs mentioned have now matured into full-grown adults, aged 10 years old, with Nahkato weighing around 140 to 145 pounds; despite their size, Smith is comfortable snuggling up to them, as seen in the video, even when Nahkato growls a little bit.

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© Soren Wolf/

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About the Author

Sharon has a Ph.D. in Public Health but has spent the last decade researching and writing about all things connected with animal health and well being. As a life-long animal lover, she now shares her family home with three rabbits, a Syrian hamster, and a very energetic Cocker Spaniel but in the past she has also been a Mom to Guinea Pigs and several cats!She has a passion for researching accurate and credible information about pets and reviewing products that make pet owners' lives a bit easier. When she isn't checking out new pet products she's trekking around the Welsh mountains and beaches with her dog - although she lets her husband and her three grown up daughters tag along sometimes if they are lucky!

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