Watch an Amazing Lion Go Airborne and Snatch a Baboon Straight Out of a Tree

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: February 17, 2023
© Henrico Muller/
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Lions are incredible hunters who often work as a team with their pride to hunt prey. The lion in this clip, however, appears to be hunting alone and has caused absolute chaos amongst the baboons. This clip was taken at a national park in Tanzania and captures just how a lion goes about catching a baboon that thinks it has escaped into a tree. It is always a mistake to underestimate a lion!

Lions Hunting Their Prey

Lions are native to Africa and Asia and tend to live in open woodland, scrub and grassland. They are one of the largest and most powerful felines on the planet. They usually hunt animals such as gazelle, zebra, and warthogs and do this on the ground!

Two male lions
Lions stalk and then charge their prey

©Maryke Scheun/

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Their hunting method usually involves stalking the prey and then, when they are close enough, they have a short charge at the animal and either grab it or knock it over. They kill the animal by clamping their jaws around its neck – this breaks the animal’s neck or suffocates it.

The technique we see here is a variation of that method – the chosen method for lions to hunt baboons is to ambush them on the ground. The lion has singled out one baboon to follow which is a good way of overcoming the diversionary tactics of a group of animals. The baboon follows its instincts and heads up a tree where a lion is less likely to follow. However, it does not make it up to the higher branches quick enough. The lion is able to leap up and grasp the baboon, dragging it out of the tree and running off with it.

Lions in Trees

There are many misconceptions about lions and trees! We do not generally think of them as hanging around in trees like leopards do. However, this does not mean that they are never found in trees. It sems that some lions are better at climbing trees than others and some like to relax on the larger branches.

The baboon made a good choice to head for the tree but was just not fast enough at getting to the upper branches. Lions are simply not built for getting up trees in a hurry! They are heavier than a leopard and their bone structure is different. Also, they lack agility and vertical power. A heavy lion could even injure itself getting down from a high tree!

Lion and lioness
Lions are too heavy to be able to climb trees quickly


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Lion roaring with a blue sky as background
Lions are the only big cat to live in social groups
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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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