Jaw-Dropping Struggle: Leopard Battles Persistent Hyena for Zebra Feast

Tug of jaw: Hungry leopard has to fight off hyena determined to steal its zebra meal

This is the moment an a leopard and a hyena had a power lunch of a very different kind.

The two hungry beasts engaged in an epic tug of war over a zebra carcass after the big cat killed it, but found its prey too heavy to drag back to his tree.

A small pack of crafty hyenas smelt the carcass, and after baring its teeth and growling at the leopard, one decided to cheekily sneak a few bites.

Tug of war: The leopard grips the zebra carcass in its jaws, as the sneaky hyena creeps in to take a nibble and steal his catch

Mine all mine: The leopard kills the zebra and grips it in its mouth, while keeping an eye on the hyena which is closing in

Don’t even try: The leopard straddles the zebra carcass and turns its head to make sure its prized kill isn’t at risk of been stolen

Biting down: The leopard takes a mouthful of the zebra, whose ears are already torn to pieces

After a violent half hour tussle, the leopard was victorious and dragged his kill away so he could finally feast in peace.

The culinary tug-of-war was captured at the Masaï Mara Game Reserve, Kenya, by photographers Laurent Renaud and Dominique Haution.

Mr Renaud, a 55-year-old teacher from France, said ‘It was exceptional’ to see the food fight, which is a rare sight.

He said: ‘The leopard had killed a young zebra but it was impossible to carry it up into his tree.

Dinner for one: The leopard at the Masaï Mara Game Reserve in Kenya bears its teeth and tries to scare the hyena off

I’m hungry too: The hyena howls at the leopard and signals that its not going to let the big car eat alone

Creeping in: The hyena decides it can’t wait any longer and charges in to challenge the leopard for the zebra carcass

Aerial maneuvers: The leopard tries to move the carcass at speed while keeping a close eye on the darting hyena

Eye to eye: The leopard and the hyena square off over the zebra carcass which they both grip in their jaws and refuse to let go

‘Several hyenas were attracted to the smell and at first the leopard gave up and walked away.

‘He then came back and wanted to carry the kill away but the hyenas weren’t going to give up without a fight.’

Mr Renaud said after 30 minutes of ‘vicious pulling and gnashing of teeth’ the leopard was victorious and strode away.