About the Author

Rich Laburn

Head of Digital

Rich is the driving force behind Londolozi’s online storytelling and the founder of the Londolozi blog. His passions of digital media, film and photography have seen him build Londolozi's online ecosystem into a unique platform for advocacy of the restoration and rewilding of ...

View Rich's profile


on Rules of Engagement

Join the conversationJoin the conversation


Wow, the bush truly manages to surprise on a constant basis. You really do “learn something everyday” out there. Its amazing how they seem to almost be in symbiosis. A little mutual understanding, I think the lions are aware (after that lovely canine bearing yawn) that the hippo would do some serious damage if a fight broke out 🙂

as always, awesome stuff!

Perhaps it is mutual understanding, but more often than not I believe that animals will avoid conflict where they can…. I do find it surprising behaviour on the part of the hippo as they are naturally shy, vulnerable (and thus defensively aggressive) animals when out of the water. Do you think it was because he was probably a bit older and experienced or simply saw food that the wanted?

What an incredible story! Just shows there are no set behavioural rules in the bush! thanks for sharing your experience and the great photos!


What an amazing set of images – I think this behaviour reveals a couple of things: firstly, that the hippo has evolved from a pig-like (and thus omnivorous) ancestor. I’ve seen hippos in Botswana sharing a carcass with crocodiles and even a baby hippo nibbling on a piece of meat. There appears to be a gene hidden away on the hippo’s DNA that kicks in when meat presents itself though don’t quote me on that …

Secondly, it is interesting to see how different species of animal co-habit the same space provided there is no danger/competition. The lions obviously decided that the hippo was not a threat, they had plenty of food and could spare a few bites – what if the lions were hungry and squabbling over a far smaller prey item? Would’ve been interesting …

I agree with Dominic, the rules seem to change between animals when any food source is in abundance. I have recently seen leopard and hyena feeding at the same carcass, the kill was a large kudu and there was more than enough meat for both predators.

It sheds a different light on predator mentality.

Interesting you brought that sighting up Chris as this was the first thing that came to my mind when Dominic mentioned ‘different species of animal co-habit the same space….’ For those of you who haven’t seen it, take a look at http://blog.londolozi.com/2010/09/maxabeni-brothers-chased-off-kudu-kill/

I definitely think that if the food source (buffalo) had not been in such abundance in the case of the lions, they would have been alot more reluctant to share the carcass and could potentially have viewed the hippo as a prey source. I am still quite perplexed that the hippo would put itself in such a precarious situation just for a portion of freshly chewed grass and the opportunity for a taste of meat…perhaps the omnivorous tendencies are much stronger than we think..?


Wow, Chris, so great to see ! So I am wondering how come you and I didn’t get to see such an event ! All I got to see was a hyena and leopard together. Such amazing events !

Here is the leopard and hyena together that I saw with David. http://www.pbase.com/mytmoss/image/34526331Amazing stuff taking place at Londolozi.


Great photos Micheal, I trust that you have seen the blog post on this encounter – if not follow here: http://blog.londolozi.com/2010/09/maxabeni-brothers-chased-off-kudu-kill/

As for Chris, you’ll have to ask him in person about not showing you the above, although a leopard and hyena together is not doing too badly. Thanks for your comments.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

One moment...
Be the first to this photo
You and 1 others this photo

Filed under
10 April, 2798
Add Profile