Watch a Lioness and 15FT Crocodile Play Tug of War With an Antelope

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: October 30, 2022
© Michael Zeitner/
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The Kruger National Park in South Africa is home to many top predators. They are all highly skilled and possess many adaptions to allow them to efficiently capture other animals so that they can consume them. So, what happens when two top predators both think that a certain item of prey belongs to them?

Antelope Tug Of War

The poor antelope has reached the end of its life, there is no doubt about that. But they may end up as a meal for a croc or a lioness. Of course, we don’t know who caught this antelope. For a lioness, antelopes are a staple part of their diet but they also eat wildebeests, giraffes, and buffalo. They usually hunt as a group and it is the females that catch the prey as opposed to the males who are not as fast or agile. However, lions are perfectly happy to pinch food caught by another animals, and perhaps that is what has happened here?

Crocodiles are also ferocious carnivores. A top tactic for them is to lurk in the shallow water where they can be difficult to spot. Then, they can pounce on unsuspecting animals that approach the water’s edge for a drink. As well as deer, they will also eat fish, crustaceans, and buffalo.

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Crocodiles are also ferocious carnivores. A top tactic for them is to lurk in the shallow water where they can be difficult to spot.

©Marius Burger / CC0 1.0 – License

Crocodile Death Role

At one point in the video, we see the croc twist the antelope in what is called a death roll whilst the lion looks a little bemused. In fact, whilst the croc remains in the water with their catch, the lioness keeps her distance. It is when the croc drags its prey onto land that the lion makes a more determined effort to get hold of it. This is when the situation escalates into a tug of war.

Crocodiles carry out a death roll for several reasons. To begin with, it disorientates the captured animal so that they are less likely to try to escape. The roll is very fast and makes the animal feel very dizzy. Then, it is an effective way of snapping the animal’s neck and also holding them under the water so that they drown. Once the prey is dead, it helps to dismember them and break them up into small pieces which makes them easier for the croc to swallow. This is important because crocodiles do not chew their food before they swallow it!

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© Michael Zeitner/

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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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