Watch This Beastly Crocodile Singlehandedly Scare off 3 Cheetahs and Steal Their Lunch

Written by Sharon Parry
Updated: June 19, 2023
© Mari Swanepoel/
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To be a successful predator, you have to do a lot more than simply catch your prey. You also have to be able to hang onto it long enough to eat it! As the video at the bottom of this page shows, that can be the hardest part.

These three cheetahs have worked as a team to catch a waterbuck and have been successful. The prey has been brought to the ground and killed. However, the commotion of the chase has alerted another predator who also has their eyes on the prize. The cheetahs see a large crocodile approaching and one tries to drag the waterbuck away by the neck. Another helps out by dragging its rump and they gradually back away from the crocodile. As the meal starts, they are again disturbed – this time by two crocodiles. Despite the cheetahs’ warning hisses and further attempts to drag the carcass away, the persistent reptiles continue to approach. Finally, the cheetahs have to relinquish their prey and watch it being consumed by crocodiles.

What Is This Behavior Called?

The behavior of stealing food from another animal is called kleptoparasitism and when one species steals food from another species as we see here it is called interspecific kleptoparasitism. It is also more common than you may think. It is observed in birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, arthropods and mollusks.

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This is not the same as scavenging which is when an animal polishes off a carcass that another animal has finished with. A kleptoparasite actually steals a carcass that another animal wanted to eat! For some animals, stolen food makes up a small portion of their diet. However, for animals such as the spotted hyena it can make up 20 percent of their nutrition and some spiders are even obligate kleptoparasites which means that it is the only way in which they get their food!

Female cheetah and her four tiny cubs sitting on a large termite mound with a smooth background with copy space in Serengeti Tanzania
Cheetahs can get their prey stolen by crocodiles, lions, and hyenas to name a few

©Stu Porter/

Scientists think that animals only do this because they gain some advantage by doing so. Perhaps it uses up less energy than chasing your own prey?

It is not uncommon for poor cheetahs to get their food stolen. Lions and hyenas also steal their food quite frequently. Baboons, leopards, jackals and vultures are also known kleptoparasites!

Watch the Fascinating Video Below!

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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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