Talk about a rude awakening! This is the intense moment a bold lion sneaked up on an unsuspecting leopard taking a nap, and it was all caught on film.

This rare interaction shows what can happen when two of Africa’s most fearsome big cats cross paths.

Zzzzz…

Leopards are one of the “Big Five” cats encompassed by the genus Panthera. These large spotted felids are renowned for their unique camouflage capacity, strength, and tree climbing abilities. Leopards are mainly opportunistic hunters, their diets primarily consisting of antelopes and deer.

Although leopards are big cats that can weigh up to 200 pounds, they are no match in size compared to lions.

Lions are the second-largest living cats, after tigers. Males can weigh more than 500 pounds, making for a formidable opponent to an unsuspecting leopard.

These apex predators prefer to hunt large ungulates. Although lions are known to kill other predators, they do not typically eat them.

 

Matthew Poole (26), a professional guide at Kirkman’s Camp in the Sabi Sands, watched this exciting scene play itself out right before him and his excited guests.

“By far the rarest sighting in my guiding career!” the guide told our partners at Latest Sightings.

Poole stated that he had mixed emotions as this sighting started to unfold.

There was a lot of excitement and nerves building as the male lion started to stalk from across the Sand River.

As the lion got closer to the leopard, Poole realized that if he caught the leopard, then he would potentially kill it. Close call!