Attitude's often more important than size or strength when it comes to showdowns in the wild. Exhibit A: this short-but-sweet footage out of South Africa's Kruger National Park.

A group of tourists had been filming this lone spotted hyena padding down a road when the carnivore seemed to catch wind of something intriguing on the sidelines. It stepped cautiously onto the grassy shoulder and then, in the blink of an eye, went tearing away in the opposite direction, tail between its legs, with a bellowing chacma baboon close on its heels.

It's a case of halting inquisitiveness met with immediate, full-bore, don't-mess-with-me 'tude.

Hyenas do represent a potential threat to baboons: one Africa-wide review suggested they were the third most significant predator of the "dog-headed" monkeys behind lions and leopards. (Leopards and primates = ancient foes.) While a baboon may normally be too meagre a target for a whole clan, a solitary spotted hyena might opportunistically have a go at it. (Baboon bones have also been recorded at the den sites of brown hyenas.)

But these rugged savanna-going monkeys aren't pushover prey, especially with strength of numbers. Males are intimidating animals, to say the least: as big as 50 kilograms (in the case of the chacma, the heftiest baboon species), armed with whopping fang-like canines and capable of spectacular bluster – electrifying barks and bristling, gaping charges – when facing a carnivore or large python. Adult males and sometimes females may physically confront a predator while the rest of the troop flees; leopards have been severely wounded, even killed, during these counterattacks.

But such mobbing is a daytime behaviour. After nightfall, baboons are understandably less inclined to square off against big cats or hyenas, and seek shelter from them on cliff faces or up in treetop roosts. A study in Botswana's Okavango Delta found several instances of leopards invading the after-hours canopy roosts of chacma baboons, sometimes multiple times a night.

And this isn't the only recent example of baboons throwing some swagger around with carnivores. In Zambia's South Luangwa National Park earlier this month, Shenton Safaris filmed a pack of African wild dogs harassing a spotted hyena, only to get a taste of their own medicine shortly thereafter from a hilariously confident baboon:

In a blog post about the incident, Shenton Safaris guide Andrew Mweetwa wrote, "Before the dogs got close, the baboon took an offensive position and started chasing any dog who came close enough. A game of cat and mouse started between the dogs and the baboon. In the end it seemed more playful than threatening as neither animal became overly aggressive.”

It's a similar sort of mood as this rather charming Kruger encounter (shared back in 2012 by Latest Sightings) between another wild-dog pack and a whole troop of baboons: