Why take on an agile antelope when a sleeping crocodile is ripe for the picking? 

These two young lions and their reptilian feast were filmed on the shores of Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, and the footage was uploaded to YouTube by Safari Guide Africa.                          

“We first noticed this behaviour last year when we found two small crocodile carcasses, which had clearly been killed and eaten by lions," the lodge’s deputy general, Catherine Norton, told News24. “We thought it was an opportunistic kill and was unlikely to be repeated." 

But that assumption proved incorrect. According to the team at the lodge, the pair has now killed as many as three large crocs over the past two weeks. And although an actual kill hasn’t yet been witnessed, the lions appear to be working together while taking down their massive prey: one brother distracts, while the other quite literally goes for the jugular.  

“We think that it is learned behaviour,” says Norton. “When you think about it, killing a crocodile which could well be half asleep dozing in the sun is a lot simpler than stalking and chasing after an alert and nimble antelope."

Strange as this feeding choice might be, Norton adds, it has nothing to do with a shortage of the cats' usual prey – buffalo, kudu and impala are all in healthy supply in the area. At the end of the day, what we're most likely seeing is simply a couple of crafty lions making life just a little bit easier on themselves. 


Top header image: Erlend Aasland, Flickr