Watch This Lion Turn Into a House Cat and Scamper Up a Tree When Buffaloes Attack

Written by Angie Menjivar
Updated: October 18, 2023
Share on:

Allies in the wild mean the difference between life and death. Whereas the lion typically has the upper hand, when it’s alone, it faces sticky situations. In the video below, you see a herd of water buffaloes working together to chase away a lion that’s gotten too close.

Watch the Fascinating Interaction!

Lion vs. Water Buffalo Herd

The video was taken out on safari, which means you get a unique up-close look at the interaction between a herd of wild buffaloes and a lion. When it starts, water buffaloes are running from the left side of the screen to the right. They make it off the grass onto a sandy road where one of them stumbles, falls, and quickly recovers, joining the rest of the herd. Though they initially scramble, they suddenly stop and turn back as if realizing the threat they thought was approaching is no longer.

One of the water buffaloes turns its head upward and approaches a tree. The cameraman zooms in and that’s when you spot the lion in the tree. You can see another safari vehicle in the background taking in the scene from a different vantage point. The safari guide instructs the spectators to stay seated as they watch the lion. The herd of water buffalo passes beneath it and it looks down as if savoring the possibilities. But the herd is determined to chase the threat away.

18,045 People Couldn't Ace This Quiz

Think You Can?

Why Do Lions Climb Trees?

Lions dominate on the ground yet it’s not uncommon for some lions to climb trees, finding protection, better vantage points, and comfort on strong branches. These big cats don’t need the trees the way leopards do and they’re not as agile as leopards either. However, lions may need to escape something on the ground and choose the height of the trees as their preferred place. Biting flies on the ground can send a lion climbing up a tree in the same way a herd of water buffalo can when the lion is without the protection of its pride. Branches work for the lion in the interim!

wild water buffalo standing in field

Water buffalo are stronger in herds.

©David Havel/

Can a Water Buffalo Injure a Lion?

Water buffaloes are larger than lions and despite their size, lions prey on them. However, a sole lion is unlikely to take on a single water buffalo on its own. It has a much better chance of taking down a large prey animal with the help of its pride. When the tables are turned and a water buffalo herd outnumbers a lion, the lion has to get creative. Without escape, a herd is capable of seriously injuring and even killing a lone lion.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © David Havel/

Share on:
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.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.