Leopards are happy to make a meal out of just about anything. The big cats have the most diverse diets of all large carnivores, so a hunk of meat floating in a waterhole is just the sort of thing that piques the interest of a leopard on the lookout for a meal. A particularly opportunistic cat was filmed recently in South Africa's Kruger National Park trying its luck at stealing a snack from a crocodile. The croc, however, was in no mood to share.

The footage was captured by Alberto Scattolin, owner and safari guide at Matimba Lodge on the outskirts of the Kruger Park. Scattolin often uses his downtime for solo, self-drive excursions into the reserve and has had his fair share of special sightings. This day's drive would certainly deliver. He set course for an area well-known for its leopard population in the hopes of finding one of the spotted cats. Instead, Scattolin came across a crocodile feasting on a carcass and, as the only person present at the sighting, he settled in to watch the action.

Soon after, a leopard wandered into view. "He immediately started approaching the water where the crocodile was," Scattolin told Latest Sightings. "I stayed and watched as the hungry leopard tried to take the meal from the croc repeatedly." The croc was unwilling to forgo the carcass and lashed out at the big cat, at times, almost sinking its teeth into the opportunistic leopard.

Croc-leopard interactions are rarely witnessed in the wild, but the predators do sometimes cross paths and have been known to prey on one another from time to time. An incautious crocodile basking on a river bank would be an enticing target for a leopard on the hunt, while any animal that braves a drink from croc-infested waters is at risk of attack. 

In Africa and Asia, leopards probably don't target crocodilians as regularly as some populations of jaguars, for which caimans can make up a major part of their diets. However, there is photographic evidence from 2002 that shows a leopard tackling and killing a young croc in the Kruger Park. Of course, just as leopards are one of the few predators strong enough to take on a large crocodile, the reverse is also true. Nile crocodiles will sometimes eat leopards, and the big cats have turned up in the stomachs of mugger crocodiles in India.

Scattolin was forced to leave the leopard-croc showdown before witnessing its conclusion as he did not want to violate the park's gate closing time (driving at night is strictly prohibited in most South African game reserves and exit gates usually shut at sunset). Despite not watching the scene to its close, Scattolin described the encounter as the "most amazing interaction with these two animals I’ve ever seen."