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

Michael Zeitner/

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 21, 2023

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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?

Watch Below to Witness the Antelope Battle

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 other 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.

Osteolaemus osborni

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

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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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.

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