I’ve never tried to drag half a dead wildebeest in my mouth but I’m thinking it can’t be easy. It’s not a task I often contemplate mind you, but it came to my attention last year when a determined female from a large pride was doing just that in the Mara Triangle.
The cats had killed two or three wildebeest that morning (it was hard to say, remains were pretty scattered) and eaten their fill, but she wanted to move the head and part of the torso to where the pride was relaxing by a stream about 50 yards away. It was mighty slow going.
The whole escapade was incredibly awkward. Holding the wildebeest by the throat as she straddled it between her legs, she could only take a few steps forward before having to release it, reorganize and try again. And if that wasn’t bad enough, a couple of troublesome cubs were driving her crazy.
While all the lions sported tummies so full they practically scraped the ground, a few greedy kitties kept trying to take a bite out of the carcass while the lioness was hauling it through the grass. First one, then two, the cubs relentlessly nipped at her heels. Literally.
Imagine carrying an entrée from the kitchen to the dining room while your children are trying to eat it along the way. Annoying right?
Meanwhile, back at the other half of the unfortunate wildebeest, a wake of vultures, marabou storks and a small pack of spotted hyenas were in a frenzy trying to eat as much as possible before the lioness came back for the rest of the kill. As it was, in between scolding the cubs, she’d spy the scavengers, drop the wildebeest and chase them away.
Just as tenacious as the cubs, the scavengers would pounce on the remains as soon as she turned her back.
Back to the lions….
You know that saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? When William Congreve coined that phrase, he obviously hadn’t seen this little lady. Otherwise he would have said “Hell hath no fury like a lioness fighting with her cubs over a kill.” She snarled and swiped at the little buggers trying to drive them away but her efforts were in vain.
It didn’t matter that she acted as if she was going to tear them limb from limb. They had her number; they were loved. Her bark was much worse than her bite so they just kept coming.
In the end, she just gave up.
~ Taken during a Wild Eye Photographic Safari.