Watch This Commanding Male Lion Stalk an Oryx Before Taking It Down In a Fierce Ambush

male lion stalking prey
Jason Prince/

Written by Rachael Monson

Updated: October 24, 2023

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What Happens in the Video?

Have you ever seen a lion stalk its prey? In the video, these safari-goers got a first-hand view of an incredible hunt by a large male lion.

Watch the Magnificent Lion Stalk His Prey Below!

Filmed near the Monro waterhole in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa, this video begins with the male lion trotting toward the safari-goers. The magnificent creature sees something and slows down. As he approaches and moves past the safari vehicle, he pays it no mind.

African lion (Panthera leo) - Female, in the gravel road, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Kalahari desert, South Africa.

This female lion isn’t bothered by the vehicle on the road any more than the lion in the video.

The next scene shows him sniffing the air and standing tall to watch something. He moves with precision and then begins to trot again. He reaches a thicket, and it becomes clear the lion is stalking prey. Suddenly, he runs. The lion jumps right onto the back of an oryx!

The large antelope isn’t going down without a fight, and a struggle begins between predator and prey. The great lion takes care to avoid the oryx’s long, sharp horns. He holds on tight to wear the animal down. We can see long, bloody scratches on the antelope’s flank. This injury is likely from the lion’s original stalk and pounce. The lion has done some significant damage, but it’s not over yet. The fight goes on for a while. When the lion stands up, we see that one of the horns has pierced through the skin on his shoulder. Despite his injury, he does not give up.

The struggle continues for another few minutes, with the lion even trying to eat the oryx alive! Finally, he gets ahold of the beast’s neck and delivers the killing bite. The lion stalked his prey well and is rewarded with a meal. The video ends with the lion taking a rest before he eats his well-earned kill.

What is an Oryx?

The video shows the male lion stalking an oryx, but what is this animal?

The South African oryx, or gemsbok, is a species of large antelope found in Africa. Other species of oryx include the Scimitar-horned oryx of Northern Africa and the Arabian Oryx, found in the Middle East.

gemsbok in desert

Also known as gemsbok, the South African oryx is a common meal for lions.

The gemsbok grows to 500 pounds and is about four feet tall, not including their horns. These antelope are herd animals, meaning they live in large family groups. A herd contains only females and young, numbering 10-30 members during the dry season and as many as 200 members during the rainy season. The males live alone except during breeding. So, the oryx the lion stalked in our video is likely a male. Unfortunately, without the protection of the herd, they can become prey.

Oryx of all species have long, sharp horns they use to defend themselves. They eat grasses and can go without water for long periods of time. These hardy animals number in the hundreds of thousands in Africa and are kept in zoos around the world. The rarer Arabian oryx numbers only 8,000 in total.

Is It Normal Behavior for a Lion to Stalk an Oryx?

Yes! Lions are ambush predators. This means they get as close as they can to their prey before launching an attack. That’s what stalking means! Other animals also stalk their prey, like leopards, wolves, and even the common house cat. You may have seen your cat stalking a mouse or bird in the yard.

A female Lion ambushes a Wildebeest at a water hole in Tanzania, the Serengeti

Female lions do most of the hunting and will attack a much larger animal like an oryx or this wildebeest.

Oryx are among the many animals that lions will stalk, hunt, and eat. Lions primarily eat zebras and wildebeest, but they will pretty much eat whatever they can catch. When prey is scarce, they will even hunt birds and lizards. Lions occasionally take down prey as large as a water buffalo!

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About the Author

Rachael Monson is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her primary focus is cats, big and small. She also works as senior veterinary assistant and has been in that field since 2012. A resident of Mississippi, she enjoys spending her off time playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her pets (a Bengal cat named Citrine and Basset Hound/Pomeranian mix dog named Pepsi).

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