WATCH: Zim lion devours croc on Lake Kariba

2016-03-10 10:04
Portrait of a lion in the wild

Portrait of a lion in the wild (iStock)

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Have you heard about the crocodile-eating lions on the shores of Zimbabwe's Lake Kariba?

Bumi Hills Safari Lodge  has shared extraordinary footage of a lion munching on a crocodile at the edge of the lake, one of Zimbabwe's most popular tourist destinations.

In fact, two young lions from the same group are now regularly dining on crocodiles that they've killed, says the luxury resort. 

In the last two weeks the brothers have "dispatched" three large crocodiles measuring up to four metres.

Catherine Norton, deputy general manager at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge told News24 that staff there first realised that the lions were killing crocodiles last year.

"We first noticed this behaviour last year when we found two small crocodile carcasses which had clearly been killed and eaten by lions," she said.

"We thought it was an opportunistic kill and was unlikely to be repeated," she added.
But the staff was wrong. 

Now the lions are taking on much bigger prey.

While a kill hasn't actually been witnessed yet, the lions' method appears fairly clear.

They seem to be grabbing the unlucky crocs at the base of the skull and then flipping the creatures over to get to the jugular.

There's even a suggestion that a certain amount of crafty teamwork is involved, according to Norton. It may be, she says, that "one lion distracts the croc whilst the other leaps on [it]".

Lion attacks on crocodiles are not unheard of. Cases have been recorded in Kenya. Crocodiles occasionally attack lions at waterholes.

But the kind of behaviour that the Bumi Hills pair are engaging in does seem to be extremely rare.

Norton says the reason for it is not likely to be anything to do with a shortage of regular prey like buffalo, kudu and impala. These animals are still plentiful on Kariba's shores.

Norton said, "We think that it is learned behaviour... 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."

So is it dangerous for the lions and any cubs who might be around?

"All kills are potentially dangerous," Norton told News24. "But not for cubs, as they are always kept well out of the way while the hunt is underway."

Kariba is 360 kilometres from Harare. 

Read more on:    harare  |  wildlife

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