Lion’s Regret: A Close Encounter with a Zebra Leads to a Swift Kick to the Face

It was like the scene from the hit film Madagascar when hungry Alex the lion sees his friend Marty the zebra as his next meal.

But as in the film this lion was left hungry after he chose to make this particularly zebra cross – and was rewarded with an almighty kick to the face.

These amazing images were captured from the safety of a truck in Ngorongoro Conservation area, Tanzania, by wildlife fanatic Thomas Whetten.

Take that! The hind legs of the zebra slam into the lion’s face and jaw, leaving him dazed but he is soon after the animal again

In them, the zebra, who was blissfully unaware that a pack of lions were on the prowl for lunch, casually strolls through the grasslands.

But hiding in the grass, one of the killing machines creeps up on the oblivious animal, who becomes spooked and bolts.

The lion’s speed means he swiftly catches up with his potential meal, leaping on its back and sinking its teeth deep into the zebra’s flesh.

Undaunted, the zebra desperately fights to save its life – ducking, diving and weaving to shake off the predator.

The end? The lion easily catches the spooked zebra and grabs onto the back of the desperate animal before sinking his teeth into its flesh

Ducking, diving and weaving: The zebra uses all its strength to fight off the lion before delivering the almighty blow with its legs

And with one big buck the zebra manages to catch the lion square in the face – knocking it to the ground.

Amazingly, the big cat manages to regain his footing and continue to snap at its legs as it flees – almost managing to sink a big bite into the zebra’s rear end.

But after a high-speed chase, the lion is embarrassingly dumped into a muddy puddle – leaving him humiliated in front of a group of females.

Mr Whetten, from Tucson, Arizona, and who runs photographic tours of Africa said: ‘We were all stood up in the safari jeep watching these two packs of lions when suddenly this zebra walks between both sets.

Not this time: The lion, with his jaws wide open and ready, makes a leap at the zebra’s leg but he managed to escape its grasp

‘He was completely unaware that they were even there and the lady standing next to me started screaming ‘run zebra run’ but it didn’t take any notice.

‘The next we know the lion is chasing him, jumps on its back but it managed to kick the lion into a big mud puddle.

‘The funny thing is some people in another jeep got bored of watching the lions simply standing there and left before the action – missing it all.

‘It was spectacular – even better than you see at the movies. It’s very rare for a zebra to get away without being mauled at all.’