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Fish in Small Puddle Doomed by Hungry Leopard

Leopards are the most adaptable of Africa’s large cats and this male has perfected the art of catching large catfish in a drying-up pond. This survival instinct will serve him well!

On a late Thursday afternoon in the ever-exciting Kruger National Park, Tayla McCurdy and a group of friends witnessed this spectacular sighting of a leopard catching barbel. Tayla told more about the event:

Fish in Small Puddle Doomed by Hungry Leopard

Fish in Small Puddle Doomed by Hungry Leopard!

“We were driving along the Mpongolo Loop (S56) when my friends and I spotted a male leopard hanging around a pool of water filled with barbel jumping around in the water. It seemed like this used to be a thriving waterhole that has since dried up to but only a puddle. This would have been mainly from the heat since the Kruger had seen little rain since summer had set in. We watched as the barbel splashed and moved about in the pool. Unfortunately, there was very little water to swim in.”

Fish in Small Puddle Doomed by Hungry Leopard

“The leopard was nervous and disappeared below the embankment where we could no longer see him. But we waited, knowing that this was an easy meal but not knowing if the leopard would go for it. After about 10 minutes the leopard eventually reappeared and stalked closer to the water. The writhing barbel were too much of a temptation and so the leopard slowly approached the puddle – planning the hunt. He hesitated for a while and then made his move. At first, it seemed like the barbel were slipping from his grasp as they viciously splashed. This caused the leopard to dip his head almost completely into the muddy water. He finally grabbed a hold of his prize, then moved back below us out of sight.”

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Fish in Small Puddle Doomed by Hungry Leopard

“The next morning we went out for another drive in the direction of the dried-up waterhole and found the same leopard sitting upon an embankment in the distance. We knew it was the same leopard because it was covered in mud from head to tail, just as was the one that we saw the day before. He got up and walked over to where an enormous barbel was lying in the sand. We were not sure if this had been the same one that was caught the day before. Or if this one was a fresh catch for the day. The leopard picked up the barbel and took it to the shade of a Nyala Berry Tree where it could finally feast on its meal.”


“This was a very exciting sighting! I was surprised at the size of the barbel, especially closer to the end where we saw the leopard almost tripping over the barbel as it tried to carry it to the tree! This was a fun experience and definitely not something you see every day.”

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