Images: Renaud-Haution/Caters News

Lions may be Africa’s fiercest predators, but hippos are pretty terrifying too — and this tough behemoth proves they won’t go down without a fight.

When four hungry lionesses ambush and attack this hippo, the battle takes an unexpected turn.

At first, the lions seem to have the upper hand.

One launches itself at the hippo from behind, far from its large teeth (which can grow longer than a foot!) She buries her claws into the creature’s massive back hoping to tear at the hippopotamus’ 2-inch thick skin.

The persistent lions eventually chase the hippo through a muddy swamp and try to corner him in a ditch.

As the hippo scrambles, all four lionesses attack and try to overpower it. With mature hippos regularly weighing 3,000 – 4,000 pounds, a group attack is pretty much their only chance of knocking one over so they can feed on its softer underside.

The scrappy hunters close in hungrily  — this hippo could probably feed their pride for days.

But miraculously, the hippo manages to escape!

With the hippo free, the lions have no choice but to give up and flee for dear life. Hippos – with their large size, sharp teeth, and super-aggressive demeanor – can deal deadly damage to the relatively small lion. Compared to the usual prey, like zebras and wildebeest, hippos are simply not to be messed with.

In fact, attacks like these are rare.

Mike Watson, CEO of a wildlife conservancy in Kenya told National Geographic, “Lions will not want to put themselves at significant risk of injury in taking on large mammals which can very easily injure them.”

It seems these lions were either really hungry or really brave.

ALL IMAGES: RENAUD-HAUTION/CATERS

Just another day on the wild plains of Africa…