That’s a rude awakening….Leopard creeps up on a sleeping warthog and prods it before killing it in a fierce battle in South Africa
With dangerous predators like leopards roaming the unforgiving terrain, these photos show that it’s no place to be caught sleeping.
This dozing boar was snoozing by the water at Kruger National Park when wide-eyed leopard sensed an opportunity for an easy meal.
It quietly stalks its prey and seems unsure if the beast is sleeping or dead, so it tentatively pokes it with a paw, prompting it to awake from its slumber and desperately try to jump up from the ground.
But the battle is already lost, and the leopard pins its prey to the ground after a short battle, then wraps its vice-like jaw around its neck.
Amateur photographer Lisl Moolman, 41, took the photos in Kruger National Park in South Africa, after spotting the scene through her binoculars.
Moolman, from Phalaborwa, South Africa, said: ‘Some visitors indicated to me that the leopard was lying behind a mopani bush, on the other side of the dam. Through the binoculars I could see it looking intently in one direction.
‘The leopard approached the oblivious sleeping boar. Blissfully unaware, the warthog only realised his fate when the leopard gently touched him with his front paw. What a rude awakening.
‘The leopard almost seemed surprised at how easy this was. The whole process from touching it with its paw, until it died, lasted approximately ten minutes. The warthog feebly struggled from time to time, but stood no chance against this strong male leopard.’
Approach: The leopard spots its prey from afar and smells a meal so starts to walk towards the warthog at the Kruger National Park
Confusion: The leopard seems unsure of whether the warthog is an already dead easy meal or simply sleeping on the dry plain
Wakey wakey: There’s only one way to find out if the warthog is alive or dead so the leopard pokes a tentative paw at the sleeping creature to see if it can rouse any movement
Swift kill: The warthog gets a rude awakening and rapidly jumps up but it’s not quick enough to escape the powerful leopard, which quickly ceases the opportunity for a meal and pins its prey to the ground
Quick scuffle: There’s a fight on before the warthog is finally forced to give up as the leopard closes its grip on it
No escape: The wily predator gives no ground away to its opponent as it makes a valiant effort to escape the jaws of death
Final battle: The warthog makes a desperate last attempt to escape after the leopard has already inflicted some painful wounds
Game over: The predator prevails, going in for the kill by biting down on its neck with its vice-like jaws until it stops breathing
Claiming the prize: The predator starts to drag its prey along the dusty road after winning the battle with the horned beast
Final moments: The leopard hunched over the hapless hog as it prepares to feed on the huge meal that came through good fortune
Cat’s eyes: Amateur photographer Lisl Moolman took the photos in Kruger National Park after spotting the scene through her binoculars
Relief: The antelope watches on knowing that had it arrived a few moments earlier, it may well have been in the warthog’s position