Turtle Chases Lions From His Waterhole

If you ever think you are out-sized, then watch this video for motivation! This little terrapin showed lions who’s boss.

This is the rare, almost confusing, moment when two lions quenching their thirst are disrupted by a seemingly aggressive terrapin who is not happy with any visitors in his part of town.

The one-of-a-kind sighting was captured by 30-year-old safari guide, Reggi Barreto, while on safari with a private guest near the Sand River in the MalaMala Private Game Reserve, Greater Kruger Park.

Reggi tells the story: “We had heard about a few lions on a young zebra foal catch and my guests and I had decided to follow up in the afternoon to see if they were still visible. There were plenty of elephants and general game along the way as we headed into the area where the lions were.”

“I knew the lions would look for water to drink and we positioned ourselves in the perfect spot with the sunlight in our favour, ready for the sighting. What came next we did not expect – I was pleasantly surprised when the terrapin came out of the wallow towards the male and then the lioness.”

“Both lions drank their fill despite the interruptions from the terrapin and then headed back closer to the zebra foal to lay down, as it was a very humid day.”

“It was an incredibly rare sighting for me to film – watching the terrapin approach the lions that had blood on their chins from the zebra. It seems as though the terrapin was actually more interested in getting some of that blood off the lions’ chins, as opposed to ‘chasing the lions away’.”


Reggi says capturing the right moment “Is all about understanding animal behaviour and predicting what they will do next. It requires plenty of patience searching for animals and spending time with them to see how the sighting will pan out!”

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