It would be wise to keep away from this leopard, because after its latest meal it’ll be feeling a bit prickly.
The big cat must have been extremely hungry to even think of tackling a porcupine bristling with needle-sharp quills.
But the battle commenced and the leopard suffered for its supper. It was speared by the quills in its muzzle, chest, and paws.
Prickly: This leopard, pictured at the Kruger National Park in South Africa, tried to make a porcupine his dinner
The battle commenced and the leopard suffered for its supper by being speared by the quills in its muzzle, chest, and paws
In obvious discomfort from the impalement, according to witnesses, the leopard took time out to try and swat the quills from its body with its paws.
Yet the sheer persistence of the leopard and its need for food drove it to ignore the pain and continue its quest.
Eventually, it found a way to pick its way through the quills and subdued the porcupine. The unfortunate prickly beast was dragged off into scrubland at the side of a road.
These extraordinary pictures were taken by Sam Jones, 42, an intensive care nurse at a hospital in Carlisle, Cumbia, when she went on a 12-day safari to the Kruger National Park in South Africa.
Hungry: Looking for something to eat, the leopard surveys the body of its prey
Persistence: Hungry like the wolf, this leopard ignored the pain and continued its quest to get a bite to eat
Had enough? These extraordinary pictures were taken by Sam Jones, 42, an intensive care nurse at a hospital in Carlisle, Cumbria
Her jeep stopped to allow the party to view the leopard versus food battle on a road between Satara and Skukuza.
She said: ‘I think the leopard had been chasing the porcupine, which can move quite fast, and it ran out onto the road where the leopard caught it.
‘At one point the leopard was pawing at its own face to try and remove the quills. It looked uncomfortable
‘It is just nature in action and that is the way it is. I was very lucky to see something like this out in the open. It is a very unusual sight.’
A porcupine’s quills are normally off-white and black and are made out of keratin. Up to 30,000 quills cover the average porcupine which can grow up to 30cm long.
Because of its natural defence mechanism, porcupines do not have to fear being eaten by very many animals.
But unlike this leopard, three animals have figured out how to eat porcupines. Bobcats, cougars and fishers, which are native to north America, have learned that a porcupine has no quills on its stomach.
So one of these predators will sometimes kill and eat a porcupine by flipping it onto its back and biting into its vulnerable belly.
But few animals know this porcupine-eating trick.Other animals that try to eat them include lions, hyenas and birds of prey, but they are rarely successful.
And, what do porcupines eat? A porcupine eats tender bark and twigs, along with other types of vegetation.