A lucky lion cub is seen using up one of its nine lives after escaping from the trampling hooves and horns of a charging buffalo by just inches as the rest of the pride watch on.
Wildlife photographer and guide Johan Adolf Smalman caught this incredible scene on camera in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Mr Smalman said the large bull approached a group of lions feasting on a buffalo they had killed earlier by a riverbank.
A tiny lion cub is at threat from a massive Cape buffalo creeping up behind it and preparing to charge at the lion pride in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, South Africa
The clueless cub starts to get a move on as he senses the danger giant animal behind him, which could crush him at any moment
African Cape Buffalo are the largest on the continent and can weigh nearly a tonne, armed with horns which can reach five feet in length.
The massive mammals are known to be bad tempered and can easily toss an adult lion into the air or trample one under foot.
And as these incredible photographs show this buffalo chose a much smaller target in the shape of a tiny lion cub which appeared to be doomed to be trampled to death.
The massive mammals are known to be bad tempered and can easily toss an adult lion into the air or trample one under foot – here the lion cub is hidden by the buffalo’s head (left) and can be seen by its feet (right)
Photographer Johan Adolf Smalman said the large male bull approached a group of lions feasting on a buffalo they had killed earlier by a riverbank
Splayed out, the cub attempts to balance itself after the incident. It is not known if the buffalo purposely aimed for the cub or if it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time
Mr Smalman said: ‘As I was taking the photos I just saw the cub running and it really did look like the buffalo had got him.
Wildlife photographer Johan Adolf Smalman captured the action from a riverbank 100 feet up
‘The cub was actually under his feet but incredibly didn’t even get injured, it just turned to the right and managed to escape.
‘He probably used all of his nine lives to get out of that situation that little cub.’
The lion cub then returned to his mother to snuggle after its ordeal.
African Cape Buffalo have been known to kill lions when threatened, but they usually attempt this in a group ‘mobbing’ – in this case the animal appeared to be put out by the lions feasting on another Buffalo.
Mr Smalman said he and his guests were around 100 foot up above the action which unfolded on a riverbank.
He used a Canon 750D, with a Canon 100-400mm lens.
Mr Smalman, from South Africa, was a field guide for 10 years in the Greater Kruger before starting his own business Korhaan Private Transfer which takes guests to the Kruger.
These amazing pictures were taken on October 27.
The tiny lion cub (left) which incredibly escaped a massive Cape buffalo which charged the pride in Skukuza in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, is reunited with its mother, unfazed