Not all warthogs are as carefree as the Lion King's Pumbaa would have you believe. "Hakuna Matata" doesn't really apply when you have a leopard firmly clasped on your back. Luckily for this hefty hog a second cat entered the fray giving it with the perfect chance to escape.

Tarryn Rae, a field guide for Mankwe GAMETRACKERS, captured the tense footage while taking a guest out on a game drive in South Africa's Pilanesberg Game Reserve recently. It was a chilly morning and sightings had been unremarkable. Rae caught wind of a leopard sighting and headed over to investigate but arrived just after the cat had slinked into the tall grass. She stopped instead beside two young warthogs, using the opportunity to explain to her guest that these knobbly faced herbivores are often targeted by predators. 

"I couldn’t even finish my sentence when my guest said: 'There's a leopard!'" Rae explained to Latest Sightings. The leopard was straddling a massive warthog, sinking its teeth into its back in an attempt to bring the animal down. "The leopard kept hold of his prize, constantly trying to get a better grip," says Rae. The warthog, meanwhile, screeched and bucked in an effort to shake the predator.

The commotion attracted a second leopard, another big male that made his way across the road and marched with purpose towards the squealing warthog. "He stopped to smell around the trees where the warthog had first been caught and then headed toward the bush where the squealing was coming from." Before he could reach the warthog, however, he was intercepted by the other leopard who seemed less than keen to share the spoils.

"They stood eyeing each other out for a second and then the claws came out and a fight erupted," Rae recalls. While the cats tussled, the warthog made a break for it and snuck away towards a nearby burrow. The leopard had managed to inflict some damage and it's unclear if the warthog survived its injuries, though the hog's considerable size will, no doubt, help give it a fighting chance.

The leopards squabble while the warthog makes its escape. Image © Latest Sightings

"It was really such an adrenaline rush and a feeling of gratitude to be in a position to witness this kind of interaction," says Rae.