Gross but Fascinating

It's true that some must die for others to live on the Serengeti Plain. One day we came across a lioness eating her fresh kill – a young wildebeest. It was in the distance, so we had to use our binoculars and the telephoto lens on the cameras. It was gross to watch. At first I looked away, but moments later I was looking through the binoculars again. It was fascinating. I couldn't look, but I couldn't NOT look! I kept reminding myself that it was the natural order of the animal kingdom. Mother Nature can really be brutal sometimes!

The lioness had just killed the young wildebeest when we arrived on the scene.

Thankfully, the wildebeest was already dead when we arrived. The lioness (Let's just call her Gertrude) was tearing into its stomach. She ate quickly. She knew the laughing hyenas had already spotted her.

The hyenas worked together to get what they wanted.

The hyenas were grateful for her work. They were hungry as well, but Gertrude didn't let them near.

The hyenas moved closer until she snarled, and then they backed off, never moving too far away. They circled her. They tried again….over and over, for more than an hour.

The hyenas threw back their heads and gave long, loud howls, calling other hyenas in the area to come and help. They knew they needed more of their own if they were to take on a lioness.

When the lioness ate, the hyenas would move inward. When she put her head up to let them know she was watching them, she couldn't eat.

As Gertrude continued to eat – and watch – the hyenas continued to pester her. They would have to wear her down. Also, they knew help was coming.

Gertrude also realized the situation. She could hear and see the others coming now. She continued to eat quickly, hungrily, but had to keep raising her head from inside the wildebeest to keep an eye on the hyenas. This was not a peaceful meal!

The lioness thought sharing the wildebeest was a good compromise, but other hyenas were coming.

She must think of a strategy. She decided to compromise. She let the hyenas join in the feast at the other end of the wildebeest.

More hyenas arrived. Gertrude snarled at them, but she knew she was severely outnumbered now. They wanted her wildebeest. They wanted ALL of it. It was too risky to stay and fight. She was alone. There were too many of them coming.

The lioness knew she could not fight so many hyenas. There's strength in numbers. They win. She loses.

Not as hungry anymore, Gertrude gave up her kill to the hyenas. With bloody face and paws, she walked away.

The hyenas weren't the only ones who wanted some tasty wildebeest.

But the story doesn't end there.

All the noise of the laughing hyenas had alerted others to the fresh kill. Jackals and vultures moved in on the hyenas. They too were hungry. Fighting broke out among the hyenas, and between the hyenas and the other animals.


Jackals and vultures joined the laughing hyenas.

We could hear the loud snarls, growls and barks. Some animals backed off after a vicious bite, but would cautiously make their way back to the wildebeest, trying not to be noticed. It was risky, but they too must eat to live…..

until it becomes their turn to be food for others on the Serengeti.

The lioness cleans off the blood from her face and paws. Despite the rude interruptions, it was a good lunch!

18 thoughts on “Gross but Fascinating

  1. WOW! It’s so interesting about the hyenas’ trick of getting food. It’s kind of like my brother. He whines so loud and weird and annoying! I give him whatever he wanted to make him stop. Just like that, the hyenas make a laughing noise, which I imagine is freaking, annoying the lioness. Her first attempt, scare them off. Not working, stay for a while. Too annoyed, give them the rest, you have plenty more! 🙂

  2. That's really sad that they have to kill the animals for food but that's what you have to do to survive. Great pictures.

  3. I can't see why life has to be so impation. But everyone has to die and live. I can't believe that you saw (well had a glimpse of it ).

  4.           Well, hte lioness was smart to give up her prey to the hyenas, because if she didn't give up her piece of meat, she would've not only've gotten attacked by the hyenas. Jackals and vultures would've probably've finished her off, if not the hyenas. So in the long term, she made the wiser decision. Never underestimate the intelligence of the big cats!

  5. Wow! Mrs.Cristie-Blick! That is so facinsting! It is trully an amazing thing to go out to Africa and see all those amazing animals, in their real habitats, and not a fake habitat in the zoo! I also think that its an amazing fact to see how the lions hunt in the wild, and hgow they eat their meal instead of being givin meat in the wild. I also think that it is so cool that you get to live in Africa for a certain amount of time. i hope that you enjoy the rest of your time in Africa!

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