We know leopards are opportunistic, but snatching a meal right out of a croc's mouth? Well that's just rude.

This remarkable bit of feline sneakiness was captured recently in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park by Nicole Dangoor, a wildlife documentary editor for the Bush Camp Company. Dangoor was on an evening safari drive along with a group of tourists when they came across a pair of crocodiles duelling over a carcass. As they approached, they caught sight of a hyena and a leopard waiting in the surrounding darkness for a chance to nab a free meal.

The cat's patience wore off quickly and instead of waiting for the clashing crocs to drop some of the carcass, the leopard moved in to snatch a piece for himself. With the croc unable to open its jaws for fear of losing its meal, it could do little more than shut its eyes and hope that the thieving cat would not manage to dislodge the quarry from between its teeth. But the leopard succeeded in prying a chunk of meat from the crocodile's mouth.

After gobbling down a few mouthfuls, the leopard attempted "one final claw, grab and bite and managed to pull what look[ed] like a whole impala leg from the crocodile," Dangoor told Latest Sightings. "This seemed like a fair enough portion for the leopard as it ran off into the distance to eat in peace." The crocodiles meanwhile made a break for it and scurried for the safety of some nearby bushes to finish off what was left of the meal.

"I love nature and to see these animals and observe their behaviour excited me! I have never seen nor heard of such things happening in the wild."

Top header image: Peter Nijenhuis/Flickr