Watch a Massive Lion Instantly Stun a Charging Buffalo by Punching It in the Face

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 19, 2023
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Key Points

  • Buffalos travel in herds with calves protected at the center and the most powerful members, the males at the perimeter.
  • They also take advantage of lions’ aversion to water by traveling through rivers and streams as often as possible.
  • Lions rely on highly coordinated teamwork, strength, and agility to bring down these large herbivores. A strategy that yields rich dividends, on occasion.

In the wild, there is no concept of politeness, especially when it comes to predator versus prey. Lions are apex predators, and they feast on a variety of wildlife, including zebras, impalas, and buffalos. Even though the prey is large, lions dominate. You’ll see that the male lion in the video clip below is outnumbered, but he still manages to show the buffalo who rules the African savannah.

Watch the Moment a Buffalo Regrets His Decision to Charge

Watch an African buffalo quickly regret charging at a male lion.

How Do Buffalo Protect Themselves Against Predators?

African buffalos travel in herds to protect one another. They place their young in the center of the herd and the male buffaloes take the borders. They only sleep for minutes at a time, which keeps them on high alert. Although they don’t have the best eyesight or sense of hearing, their sense of smell is acute. Whenever there is a body of water, they travel through it. Lions are not fans of water. When faced with an attack by a lion, buffaloes retreat. This allows most of the herd to survive but if one or two are left behind, they are much more likely to become a lion’s meal.

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Even apex predators like lions can’t overpower an entire buffalo herd.

©Peter Betts/

How Do Lions Take Down Large Prey?

Lions, like African buffalos, use their strength in numbers. They take down large prey by working together and changing their strategy as needed. Typically, they go for the hind parts of the buffalo, trying to get it down on the ground. African buffalos are incredibly strong and so long as they’re standing, lions have their work cut out for them. However, if they manage to take an African buffalo down to the ground, they’ve pretty much secured their kill.

Buffalo vs. Lion

When the clip below starts, a male lion is outnumbered by a herd of African buffalos. It intelligently uses a large fallen tree as cover when a buffalo charges toward it. Just as the buffalo gets close enough, the lion throws a single punch. The cameraman zooms in and for a few moments, it looks like they’re just having a staring contest. The buffalo is stunned at the contact and at the fact that its attempt to intimidate didn’t go as planned. The lion remains crouched, hiding the front of his body with the tree while it keeps its paws on top of it, peering over at the buffalo. The buffalo lifts its chin and looks down at the lion, still quite surprised by the encounter. It finally bares its teeth for a moment and hunches its head down as if giving up the fight.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Hannes Thirion/

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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