Leopards are expert arboreal hunters, often leaping from branch to branch in dramatic fashion to snatch a meal. It's behaviour that has been recorded in daylight hours, often in fairly shaky fashion as it can be tricky to track a leopard on the move. But recent footage from the BBC provides a new and startling perspective on the leopard's aerial hunting tactics. To help promote the first episode of Mammals, the BBC released some incredible night vision camera footage of a leopard hunting sleeping baboons 66 feet up a tree in total darkness.

“I have to say it is the most astonishing thing to witness,” Stuart Armstrong, producer for the first episode of Mammals told the BBC about the scene. The footage captured on night vision cameras shows a female leopard honing in on her baboon dinner, eventually claiming one in fairly gruesome fashion.

“In complete darkness, all you can see is the screen of your camera and spotting scopes which we use to highlight to the cameraman what’s going on,”  Armstrong explains. “The leopards only hunt on the darkest night. If the moon is half full, they wait for it to set, so they have the advantage ... They can see in what to me is pitch black. But they’re not just seeing in pitch black; they are also running around in the canopy and jumping from branch to branch. They can judge distance in order to get their dinner.”