Leopard vs. Elephant

Leopard verses Elephant

Life as a guide allows you an exciting and often rare glimpse into the lives of Africa’s most beautiful animals. I recently had just such an experience as I watched a male leopard stroll along the banks of the Sand River.

We noticed some elephant bulls up ahead and I thought to myself that the leopard would obviously have to change his route now. Leopards usually try and avoid being seen by other animals, and elephants often make a big fuss whenever predators are around. One would think they would be a little more confident given their huge size, but seems cartoons depicting elephants being terribly afraid of mice are not too far from the truth.

Our spotted friend started stalking to within meters of the completely oblivious elephants.

Our spotted friend started stalking to within meters of the completely oblivious elephants

After a good minute or two the elephant bull finally realized something was close by and that he was being watched. In typical elephant fashion he raised his huge head and spread his ears. He set his sights on the leopard and ran right at him. The cunning cat was not at all fazed and deftly jumped out of harms way.

Elephant notices leopard and raises his ears.

As soon as the dust settled the leopard was at it again and with the same end result. I was amazed and completely blown away by this fascinating bold and confident leopard. He soon lost interest in the grey giants and left them in peace as he kept up his route along the banks of the river.

Leopard loses interest and leaves elephants in peace.
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Marlon du Toit

An adventurous person by nature, Marlon has been immersed in Africa and its beauty from a young age. Growing up alongside the Kruger exposed him to the wonders of nature and has since crafted his passion for guiding and photography. As a Field Guide at Singita Sabi Sand, Marlon specialises in connecting travellers with the secret lives of some of the most amazing creatures in the wild.

  • Werner Kruger

    Cool stuff.

  • Jennifer Skutelsky

    I think elephants would be wary for the babies and adolescents. A leopard could take down a baby ellie.

  • Jaco Rautenbach

    @ Jen – though theoretically possible highly unlikely…mom will be there in a flash.

  • Fynbos Floozie

    Wonder what the leopard thought it was doing? Dangerous prey.

  • Bob

    It could be a young inexperienced male leopard or simply playful, the elephants of course were in no danger whatsoever, however tis is one of many accounts of overconfidrent leopards that chose to confront bigger prey and even predators like lions to steal their prey etc with deeadly results for the spotted cat…most people think the leopard is rather defensive compared to other cats like the puma when meeting other predators

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