Skip to Content

Lion Stalks Buffalo Herd

lioness stalking prey
Lioness stalking prey through savannah grass. Image via Depositphotos

In an Animals Around The Globe exclusive video from the Kruger National Park, a world renowned game reserve located in South Africa, a lion can be seen stalking a herd of buffalo. Lions are apex predators who are masters of stalking and stealth. Here, we discuss their hunting strategies, with reference to the exclusive footage. 

Kings of the Savannah

The pride of Africa – quite literally. They are as magnificent a sight as they are terrifying in proximity. 

lion
A male lion basking in the wind. Image by Silvano Ernest via Pexels

Lions are considered keystone species because their prey comprises a wide range of animals, particularly ungulates like zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, and, of course, buffalo. The term “keystone” refers to their having an incredibly important role in their ecosystem. Too many herbivores grazing and browsing on grasses and bushes would devastate the vegetation; thus, carnivores like lions are crucial in keeping herbivore population numbers in control. 

Lion Hunting Tactics 

Lion cubs learn how to hunt similar to how toddlers learn just about anything – from playing! Lionesses teach their cubs from as young as three months old how to stalk and pounce on prey through demonstration, and then cubs will practice with each other. Cubs may only participate in real hunts when they are a year old, but only become proper hunters at the age of two. 

lion cubs playing
Lion cub playfully slaps their pal. Image via Depositphotos

Lionesses hunt more often than male lions do, although male lions can also be very successful hunters in their own right. Lions typically hunt alone, keeping low in the grass to camouflage themselves, stalking a herd of unsuspecting prey, and seizing an opportune moment to pounce. Most animals that lions hunt alone are smaller and easier to take down because lions don’t have great running stamina, so they rely primarily on stealth and a quick kill. 

Larger animals provide food for the pride for a longer period of time, but they are risky to hunt alone in case the herd turns around and attacks the lion. Thus, sometimes several lions work together to bring down a larger animal in a herd. During group hunting, the lions will stalk a herd and wait for one member to venture out a short distance from their companions; they will then ambush their prey from all sides, leaving little room for them to escape. 

Lions typically consume their prey at the location of their kill, rarely leaving scraps for scavengers. 

Video 

YouTube video
Lion stalks buffalo herd, YouTube, Animals Around The Globe, courtesy of Matthew Grossett

Why Didn’t The Lion Attack?

In the footage, a lioness can be seen hiding in the blades of grass, watching a buffalo herd pass her by. Unfortunately for the onlookers on the safari vehicle, there was no spectacular performance as she didn’t pounce on one of the passing buffaloes. This was a clever choice on her behalf, as the buffalo companions would have no doubt retaliated, and she might’ve ended up dead herself. 

Kruger National Park 

Buffalo herd
A herd of buffaloes in the Kruger National Park in early morning sunlight. Image via Depositphotos

This footage was recorded in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, during a game drive. The Kruger is home to thousands of wild animals, including the iconic Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo, all living free in their natural habitat. 

If you’d like to learn more about this iconic destination, click here!  

You may also like: 

Latest posts by Amy King, BSc Microbiology and Physiology (see all)
Big Cats Loving Chin Scratches and Nose Boops Rescued Big Cats Eating Giant Popsicles Cheetah Cubs Play With Warthog Piglets In The Wild Young Cheetah Cub Reunited With Family Adorable Big Cat Cub Sounds