Warning: Some viewers may find this footage disturbing.

When lions take on a buffalo, the battle is rarely quick and often brutal. Although it's usually the buffalo on the receiving end of tooth and claw, make no mistake, these formidable animals are not without their defences.

Filmed in South Africa's Mala Mala Private Game Reserve last month, this clip shows a young lion learning the hard way why it's best to stay away from the pointy bits at the front of a buffalo bull. 

(Note: This is an edited version of the clip, you can find the full video embedded below):

Rangers at Mala Mala were alerted to the frantic scene by the buffalo's alarm calls, and the hunt was already well underway when they arrived. At least four lions were latched onto the rear of the buffalo in an attempt to bring down the hefty meal, while a young male was targeting the nose and neck in an effort to cut off the bull's air supply.

It proved a costly mistake – this buffalo wasn't giving in without a fight. Fending off the frontal attack, the bull sunk one of its sharp horns into the right shoulder of the adolescent lion and hoisted the cat into the air. 

For fifteen intense minutes, tourists and rangers looked on as the unfortunate lion was thrown into the air several times, unable to free itself from the buffalo skewer. Eventually, the cat 'un-impaled' itself from the sharp horn and bolted to the safety of some nearby bushes.

The buffalo's defence proved futile in the end, as the persistent pride succeeded in bringing down its ambitious target after a gruelling 90-minute battle.

The feline shish-kebab was left licking his wounds in the shade of a nearby tree. Although lions can (and do) bounce back from major injuries, it's possible that this wound proved too severe for the young lion.


Top header image: alcuin lai, Flickr