Ever feel like the butt of a joke? The lion in this video does. At first glance, this video shows a poor lion being bullied by some hyenas. The hyenas are trying to pull the big cat’s tail, and he seems helpless in their grasp. But what happens when enough is enough, and the lion decides to stand up to his bullies? Read on to find out!
The opening shot features a magnificent lion, filling the right side of the frame with its regal butt. On the left side of the frame are three hyenas, who are up to no good. Their laughter fills the air as they bully the lone lion, toying with his tail.
Are the hyenas actually laughing at the lion? Not in the way humans do. Hyenas make loud barking noises that sound like laughter, but this it’s a form of communication. The famous vocalizations express frustration, excitement, or fear.
Hyenas “laugh” during hunts and when gathering around prey as a group. A couple of seconds into the video, you can see the lion eating. The fresh kill is causing the hyenas to behave so boldly. They continue cackling, getting close to the tail, and working up the nerve to pull it.
Why do cats get so mad if you grab their tail? Domesticated cats and wild cats are funny about their tails because they’re sensitive. It hurts if you snatch them. Tails are an extension of the spine, which means they’re full of nerve endings. That’s why grabbing a cat’s tail is a huge no-no.
Hyenas vs. Lions
The hyenas in this video are taking a considerable risk! Lions have huge jaws that can grow up to 11 inches wide. Their mouths are full of sharp canine teeth, capable of tearing chunks out of their prey. With one snap, the lion could easily take a chunk out of any hyena that got too close.
Why would the hyenas take such a risk? They know they have a chance of stealing the lion’s food. Lions and hyenas are dominant carnivores in a lot of African ecosystems. They share many of the same territories and eat many of the same things. They both enjoy dining on prey ranging from small lizards to large giraffes!
At the end of the video, the hyenas work up the nerve to do it. They make their move, and working together, go for the tail. They don’t pull it lightly either.
The hyenas yank the lion’s tail! He’s infuriated and whips around with a fierce grumble. The hyenas instantly know they’ve gone too far. Their only hope is to run away as fast as they can.
The video ends as the hyenas scurry away without as much as a bite of the lion’s dinner. The lion glares in their direction, warning them not to mess with him again.
The lesson here? Don’t mess with a lion, especially when he’s eating! See the action for yourself in the video below.
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- World Wildlife Fund WWF, Available here: https://www.wwf.org.uk/learn/fascinating-facts/lions
- Wild Tomorrow Fund, Available here: https://www.wildtomorrowfund.org/blog/2020/5/7/10-amazing-facts-about-hyenas
- Curr Zool., Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5804176/