A large lion was filmed fending off more than 20 hyenas, captured in footage shot by the BBC.
The lion, named Red, goes into hyena territory and becomes surrounded.
“As they mature, young males begin to explore the boundaries of [lion] pride’s territory,” the BBC commentator says. “Red has ventured out alone … and straight into the middle of the hyena camp.”
More than 20 hyenas then swarm around the lion, inching closer and closer. They take turns attacking the lion in groups. The lion can’t fight all of them at once.
Then, another lion, Tatu, hears “the commotion” coming to the rescue.
The video generated nearly 6 million views after being posted for about a week. It has joined other viral BBC animal clips such as “Iguana chased by snakes” and “giraffe kicks lioness in the face.”
Hyenas, Lions Have Similar Diet
Hyenas and lions have a similar diet, and they often “cover the same ground, hunt the same prey, and scavenge the same remains of animals,” according to National Geographic.
“Spotted hyenas have good hearing and sharp eyesight at night. They are fast and can run for long distances without tiring. Packs work together effectively to isolate a herd animal, sometimes one that is ill or infirm, and pursue it to the death. The victors often squabble over the spoils, either among themselves or with other powerful animals like lions,” the website says. “Spotted hyenas are quite vocal and make a wide variety of sounds, including the “laughing” that has long been associated with their name.”
“A lion male is twice the size of a spotted hyena and three to four times as heavy, and one single paw stroke can kill an adult hyena. Hyenas, therefore, are careful during encounters with adult lions for good reason,” the Hyena Project in the Ngorongoro Crater states online.
According to LiveScience, many people liken hyenas to dogs, but they’re closer to cats: “In fact, they are members of the suborder Feliformia, which is a classification for cat-like carnivores, according to Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). There are four species in the hyena family, and they vary in size.”
Spotted hyenas, the largest species, can get to nearly 6 feet in length and weigh between 88 and 190 pounds.
“Hyenas are very social and live in groups called clans. Clans can have up to 80 members, according to the National Wildlife Foundation. Not only are spotted hyena females larger, they are also more aggressive and are dominate in their clans. All females rank higher than males in the clan. However, the brown and striped hyenas and aardwolves have male-dominated clans,” LiveScience reports.
The San Diego Zoo notes that hyenas have quite powerful teeth.
“Hyenas have a large head and strong jaws filled with huge teeth used to crush bone. Their powerful jaws and strong teeth are a sign of their carnivorous diet. Although they are mostly scavengers, hyenas are also skilled hunters able to take down relatively large prey. Some striped hyenas even prey on sheep, goats, donkeys, and horses. When foraging, striped hyenas move in a zigzag pattern at a slow trot,” its website says.