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Battle Between Wild Dogs and Spotted Hyenas

African wild dogs live in packs of approximately 6 – 20 and are considered cooperative hunters and although hyenas are also considered cooperative hunters, they are competitive in nature and unlike wild dogs will fight within the clan for food or dominance. Hyenas are significantly more aggressive than wild dogs and have even been known to confront lions, not for food, but to fight. Here is another example of their opportunism…

47-year-old Business Owner, Koert Grobler, told ”I departed around 4:30 from Skukuza towards Tshokwane, hoping to see some predators early in the morning. As it was still dark I saw nothing for quite some time, but as I got closer to Skukuza, I noticed a couple of hyenas playing around on the road.”

“About 12km from Skukuza I came across 11 lions and sat watching them for over an hour. There were a couple of females and a few energetic young lions playing on the road and in the surrounding bushes. It was entertaining to watch them play. I could hear a male lion calling from the bush from time to time, but left without seeing him.

I was certainly in luck this day and couldn’t believe my next sighting. A wild dog kill on the road directly in front of you surely must be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. My heart was pounding and I battled to keep the camera still. I realized that I’m extremely lucky to see wild dogs, let alone a kill in the road. I prayed that they stay close to the vehicle as I only had a cell phone camera with limited zoom abilities with me. All of a sudden, two hyenas appeared and I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to see how they competed with the dogs for food. The hyenas and dogs loudly made aggressive sounds as they attacked each other in competition for the kill.

The hyenas took the last scraps of the meat and disappeared into the bushes. The dogs started trotting down the road and found a resting place in the shade of a thorn tree in the middle of the road. One dog discovered some animal faeces in the road and proceeded to roll in it. I watched the dogs for quite some time until other cars started arriving. I already had a lot of excitement and left the dogs for the other visitors to enjoy freely.

100 meters down the road I saw a big male lion on his way to the scene. He was in a very bad condition and clearly not in any state to hunt. I realized that he was scavenging to stay alive. He must have heard the commotion and possibly wanted to use the opportunity to get some leftovers. He was very thin and had wounds on both sides of his flanks. I felt very sorry for him as I could see that he did not have much time left to live. While he looked for the scraps the hyenas returned and watched him from a distance. I took a few photos of him and left.


“To see wild dogs in the Kruger is very rare, but to see them devouring a kill 5 meters in front of you is basically unheard of. The fact that it was so close that I could hear every bite as if I were standing right next to them made it even more special.”

“The interaction between the wild dogs and hyenas as well as the screaming sounds is something that you just see and hear in movies. I consider this a once-in-a-lifetime event, being able to be there and experience it all”.

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