Torn apart by four lions, the hippo zigzagged its head to warn the female

A giant hippo turned the tables on a hungry pride of lions when they tried to attack him – by fighting itself out of a tricky situation before chasing the vicious predators away.

Taken by French photography duo Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution, these incredible photos show a group of lionesses stalking a lone hippopotamus on the plains of Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.

But instead of becoming dinner for the pride, the brave hippo fights back and the lions turn on their heels – fearing they might get a taste of their own medicine.

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A roaring success: The hippo bellows and scares away the pride of lions after fighting them off

Spring attack: A lioness leaps at the hippo from behind and tries to sink her teeth into its back

Not liking those odds! Four lionesses team up on the hippo after forcing it down into a ditch

Claws out: The giant hippopotamus is attacked from behind by one of the hungry lionesses

In the photographs, a male lion circles the hippo before two lionesses jump on it and try and bring it down.

Sticky situation: The huge mammal is shepherded into a muddy ditch and looks to be in serious trouble

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The four lions look to tuck into the beast (left) but it somehow fights them off and they flee (right)

I’ve got my eye on you: The hippo stares at a fleeing lionesses after somehow winning the battle

Pouncing around: One of the predators leaps open-mouthed at the water-dweller as another stalks it

They appear to be winning when the hippo is forced into a ditch and four lionesses jump on its back.

But within a few moments the hippo has bared its teeth and managed to shake the pride off.

The lions are sent scrambling onto the grasslands and the hippo even starts to chase them away as it snarls victoriously.

Ms Haution said: ‘We discovered Kenya in 1982 and every year since we’ve returned to photograph African wildlife.

Victory snarl: The hippopotamus stares right down the lens and snarls after beating the odds

Leave me alone! Trying to escape the ravenous creatures, the hippo makes a run through the thick mud

Trapped: It looks as if it might be the end as the big beast is rammed into a tight space with lions bearing down

Am I bothered? The hippo looks nonplussed as a lioness makes a grab at it from behind

‘Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are our favourite countries.

‘We regularly accompany travel groups on their voyage of discovery through the wonderful continent of Africa.

‘It’s characterised by such a wide variety of moods and characters and we share our passion for wildlife and photography along the way.

‘We never go straight up to animals. You could disturb them and it could be dangerous.

Stalking its prey: One of the lionesses creeps up on the unsuspecting hippo, hiding in the long grass

All smiles: The hippo breaks into a grin as it escapes the brutal battle still with its life

‘It’s always the animal which decide: if they come toward us, we just have to check if they are aggressive or not.

‘If they aren’t and that they just want to greet us we just wait and stay very quiet.

‘In that case they can be so close so that you can’t take any pictures.

‘Sometimes lions and cheetahs just want to profit of the shade of our car. They just lie down along the car and rest!’

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