The three-year-old lion is still very young and green! Brave hippos turn the tables on hungry big cats, forcing them to flee after lunging at them

The three-year-old lion is still very young and green! Brave hippos turn the tables on hungry big cats, forcing them to flee after lunging at them

This is the extraordinary moment a brave hippopotamus stood its ground against two hungry lions and managed to send them on their way after charging towards them.

These incredible pictures show the hungry three-year-old big cats attempting to hunt the much larger hippo in the depths of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

At first, as the lions approach the large mammal, the hippo tries to scare them off before wandering towards nearby water.

 

However, as the lions continue to prowl, the animal abruptly turns around and charges towards the two predators, successfully scaring them off before retreating to its territory.

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The brave hippopotamus could be seen standing its ground against the young lions in the depths of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park

The hippo attempted to scare off the three-year-old lions as they tried to attack the mammal at the nature reserve in the west of Zimbabwe

The large hippo waits until the lions appear to back down before attempting to turn around and retreat towards some nearby water

The hippopotamus makes its way into some muddy water while the lions look on, but the dramatic altercation is far from over yet

The dramatic altercation was caught on camera by researcher Brent Stapelkamp, who has been studying the activities and behaviour of lions in the Zimbabwean reserve for years.

The 37-year-old said: ‘The two male lions in the photos are just three-years-old and left their pride a few days before these shots were taken.

 

‘As far as we can tell they have not eaten anything since they left and this incident was probably their first try at self-catering.

‘The lions attempted to catch the large calf, but the hippo quickly ran to the safety of the water.

‘As the lions walked away the cocky hippo showed them who is boss and charged right back at the two cats causing them to scatter.’

As the lions continue to taunt the hippo, the large mammal turns around and charges out of the water towards the two young lions

The stand-off was caught on camera by researcher Brent Stapelkamp, who has been studying the behaviour of lions in the area for years

 

The three-year-old lions, who may be trying to land their first catch, finally back away from the hippo as it continues to charge at them

The hippo retreats to others of its kind as the lions finally leave the pack alone and instead simply look on from afar. Mr Stapelkamp said the lions will become more adept at hunting prey as they mature, adding: ‘They will learn that they are probably better off eating warthogs’

Mr Stapelkamp explained that as the pair of lions mature they will become more adept at hunting prey.

He said: ‘As brothers these two will no doubt stick together in their dispersal and form a coalition which has a better chance of securing territory.

‘They will soon learn that rather than catching large prey like this hippo calf, they are probably better off eating warthogs and young giraffe first.

‘The hippo was actually not scared at all, no doubt secure in the knowledge that mum was just meters away ready to help out.’

 

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