Brave Young Leopard Challenges a Giant Crocodile for an Impala Meal, But the Croc Eventually Decides to Make a Swift Exit

Feisty young leopard muscles in on gigantic crocodile’s impala dinner… until the croc runs out of patience and makes a snappy exit

They say you should never smile at a crocodile – and you certainly can’t get friendly with one.

But this leopard proved otherwise as he joined one of the huge reptiles for a chow-down on an impala.

Seemingly undaunted by the scaly creature’s massive, bone-crushing jaws, the big cat got stuck into the blood-stained carcass – and amazingly, the croc seemed happy to share its kill.

Spotted: The young male leopard catches sight of a tasty morsel from his vantage point in the trees of South Luangwa National Park

Dinner for one: This giant Nile crocodile has no idea that another animal has its eye on his catch

Table for two: The leopard slinks out of the bushes, drawn by the promise of fresh impala meat

Room for one more: The leopard approaches the crocodile, which turns to face its challenger

Fresh impala meat was clearly too much for the young male leopard to resist, as it leapt down from its tree and approached the crocodile at the side of the road.

After a few cautious sniffs, it apparently decided this was a dinner date for two, and took a big bite – inches from the croc’s jaws.

Crocodiles have been known to kill leopards, but this easy-going animal simply continued to gnaw on its prey with nothing but a brief – though disgruntled – glance at the big cat.

But some meals are best left to one and after a few minutes, the crocodile gathered up its now considerably smaller impala and headed off down the road.

The leopard – now joined by another of his species, who clearly wanted to see what the fuss was about – had apparently had his fill, and watched the croc lumber off into the distance.

The amazing sight of the two animals devouring the slaughtered impala together was captured by photographers who were taking part in a Bushcamp Company tour in South Luangwa National Park, Mfuwe, Zambia.

L’entree: The leopard inches ever closer to the carcass to take his first bite… while the crocodile turns its bloodstained head to face the big cat

Sharing platter: The daring leopard delves in for a bite of the grizzly flesh, undaunted by the razor-sharp crocodile jaws just inches away

Plat du jour: The two animals now seem content to share the carcass by the side of the road in the nature reserve in Mfuwe, Zambia

Cordon bleu: Now both smeared with impala blood, the animals continue to enjoy their meal, seemingly oblivious to photographers

Park rangers have identified ten different leopards in and around the camps in the park, which boasts one of the greatest concentrations of animal life in Africa.

Sightings of more than 200 crocodiles on hunts or basking in the sun have been reported.

Impala are the most numerous animal in the park, which also boasts 14 different antelope species.

The park is also home to 60 different species of animals including hippo, buffalo, giraffes, zebras and waterbuck, and close to 400 bird species.

Munch bunch: Nile crocodiles are usually between 11 and 17ft long – although some 22ft specimens have been reported – but this doesn’t seem to bother a hungry leopard

Easy pickings: Leopards are extremely agile, stealthy hunters, but scavenging often provides them with a ready-made meal

Three’s a crowd: A second leopard is too late for the feast as the crocodile finally makes off with the remnants of its kill

Lethal: The Luangwa River boasts an extraordinary number of Nile crocodiles, with hundreds gathering at a time to hunt or bask in the sun

Sia

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