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Rare Footage of Leopard and Hyena Eating Side by Side

leopard and hyena sharing meal
Leopard and hyena sharing an Impala meal. Screenshot from YouTube video by Animals Around The Globe.

Two rival apex predators, a leopard and a hyena, were caught on camera sharing an impala meal – and a rare moment of peace between the two species. 

Find the link to the video here.

The Video

The rare moment was captured by Christopher Farao in Zambia. Where the two predators share an Impala meal without any drama. A special moment, as these two animals normally confront each other when their paths cross. Their normal hostile behaviour towards each other is owed to their competition for food resources and defending their respective territories in their shared habitat. Confrontations between these rivals often lead to casualties, making this moment all the more rare to witness!

Leopard vs Hyena Stats

The two apex predators are found in many overlapping territories across Africa and some areas of Asia, and here are some comparing stats to learn more about these animals. 

LeopardHyena
Scientific Name Panthera pardusCrocuta crocuta
Weight66 to 198 pounds90 to 190 pounds
SizeBetween 2 and 2.3 feet in height and 3.5 and 6.2 feet in lengthBetween 2 and 3 feet in height and 3 to 5 feet in length
Speed35 to 37 mph37 mph
BehaviourSolitary Social pack animals

Predatory Behaviour of Leopards

Africa Leopard from South Africa
African leopard, Panthera pardus pardus, near Lake Panic, Kruger National Park, South Africa. Image by: Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Leopards are solitary mammals who wander solo through their habitats. These unique hunters do not chase their prey down like you would expect, but instead wait until they are close to their prey. Once close enough, they pounce on their prey and deliver a fatal bite to their prey’s neck or head, bringing them down. 

Predatory Behaviour of Hyenas

spotted hyena
H1-3 Road South of Satara, Kruger NP, SOUTH AFRICA. Image by Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE, CC BY-SA 2.0 < https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hyenas move in packs through their habitat. These giggling animals are extremely fast and chase after their prey in packs, bringing them down as a team. Moreover, hyenas are known to steal other predators’ hunts – one of the factors that cause friction between them and leopards. 

So, why share? 

Leopard and Hyena share meal
Leopard and hyena eating an Impala together in Zambia. Screenshot from YouTube video by Animals Around The Globe.

The mutual benefits of sharing a meal may outweigh the costs of engaging in a potentially fatal confrontation. This leads us to think that the leopard in the video may have decided to cooperate with the hyena to reduce the risk of injury or losing his kill, while still consuming a portion of the meal. Where the scavenging hyena benefits by gaining access to food without spending the energy required by a hunt. A show of a delicate balance of competition and cooperation between the two apex predators

Physical Traits Of The Leopard

Spots

Leopards have their distinctive rosette-shaped spots.

Body Size

Leopards are medium-sized big cats. Males weigh between 80-200 pounds.

Claws

They have retractable claws that help them climb trees and catch prey.

Eyes

Leopards have sharp, nocturnal vision.

Tail

Their long, muscular tails help with balance and steering.

Ears

Leopards have good hearing, with rounded ears that can pick up the slightest sounds.

Strength

Leopards are incredibly strong. They can drag prey larger than themselves up trees to avoid scavengers.

Physical Traits Of The Hyena

Build

Spotted Hyena
Spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta), Etosha National Park, Namibia. Image via Charles J. Sharp, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hyenas have a sturdy, muscular build. Additionally, they have strong forequarters and relatively weaker hindquarters.

Jaws

hyena
Hyena in the Masai Mara. Richard Probst, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hyenas have one of the strongest bite forces.

Social Structure

Watch Curious Spotted Hyena Jump On Car
Curious Spotted Hyena Jump On Car. Image by Hyena Project via YouTube

Hyenas live in complex social groups called clans. This is led by a dominant female.

Fur

Image of a baby Hyena via Pexels.

Their coarse fur comes in different colors, from grey to brown. Often with spots or stripes depending on the species.

Ears

Young hyena just come out from their hole in the early morning, Masai Mara. Image via Deposit Photos.

Hyenas have large, rounded ears that help them hear sounds over long distances.

Vocalizations

Image of a baby Hyena via Pexels.

They are known for their distinctive “laughing” calls. But hyenas use a variety of vocalizations.

Scavenging

lion vs. hyenas
Image by @Robert John via YouTube

While they are skilled hunters, hyenas are also adept scavengers, often feeding on the remains of other predators’ kills.

Final Say on the Shared Meal

leopard and hyena
Screenshot from YouTube video by Animals Around The Globe

The world of the animal kingdom is unpredictable and never ceases to surprise us. These two apex predators, who normally live life in competition, saw the mutual benefits of sharing a meal over a confrontation. It was a rare and wonderful moment to witness, and we are happy to share!

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