An overly ambitious lizard slaps a hyena in a fight for the right to feed on a zebra carcass. The lizard displays some truly fascinating behavior in an attempt to intimidate the predator by slapping its tail.
20-year-old BSc Ecology student Nicola Marneweck at the University of Pretoria was able to capture this footage. The sighting and footage were shared with LatestSightings.com.
“On our sundowner drive, we came across a zebra that had mysteriously died with no wounds or bite marks. We knew that something would come to claim it. So the next day we went back to check what had happened.”
“We drove along the road next to the river to the crime scene and found a very full hyena next to the carcass. The carcass now consisted of only bones, teeth, and some meat. The hyena bit off the lower jaw of the zebra and walked around with it in its mouth, looking like it had a pair of false teeth.”
In the African savanna, hyenas are well-known scavengers. With their incredible jaw strength and acidic stomach fluids, there is no meal that they will not devour.
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“We spotted a big Nile Monitor slowly making its way up from the river. It was heading in the direction of the hyena and its meal. Perhaps using its tongue to sniff out the source of the strange odor.”
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“Only once the monitor lizard got closer to the carcass did the hyena come to see what was happening. To our amazement and the hyena’s surprise, the monitor tried to frighten the hyena rather than being intimidated by it. Because the hyena had never been taught that “sharing is caring,” every time the monitor approached the carcass, it was dragged away.”
Across southern Africa, you can find monitor lizards, which are large reptiles. Their diets consist mainly of other reptiles, insects, fish, and, on very rare occasions, carrion.
“I was so surprised to see the determination of the monitor challenging a very possessive hyena. At first, I could not believe my eyes or ears when the monitor smacked its tail against the bones of the carcass to intimidate the hyena. Letting it know it was not backing down. Luckily, I got to see the monitor come back again for another mouthful. This time it smacked the hyena in the face!”
“At this point, the hyena had enough. He proceeded to drag the carcass far away from the monitor. The monitor decided it was time to give up; it walked in the opposite direction, where it found some scraps and bones to check for meat.”