Avoid Getting Eaten by Lions

ImageI was driving around by myself in South Africa’s Kruger park, taking photographs of the wildlife when I came across two lions. I rolled down my window and started taking photos with my SLR. Since an SLR requires you to hold the camera to your eye and look through the viewfinder, I couldn’t see the lions directly, only through the lens. The lions were about 300 feet away from me when I first saw them, so I zoomed in to the max to get a good closeup. I began tracking one of them as he moved, and I’d zoom out as he got a bit closer. After a few minutes, I realized I was zooming out a lot and the lion must be quite close to me. I pulled the camera away from my face and found myself about 10 feet away from the lion, including the space taken up by my passenger seat. My passenger window was rolled down, so there was nothing between me and the lion except air. “Did I look like lion food?”, I wondered. I knew that if the lion was planning to attack me, he could jump ten feet much quicker than the speed at which I’d be able to reach across to my passenger seat and roll up my window. There was nothing to keep me from being lion food, other than the lion’s lack of hunger or disinterest. I decided that panic would do nothing for me, so I might as well keep taking great closeups even if I was about to die.

The lion got closer and closer, and then the most marvelous thing happened. He came inches away from my passenger door, and then suddenly plopped himself on the grass and proceeded to take a nap! He lay there purring like a kitten and he looked so sweet that I was tempted to reach my arm out and pet him. I’ve touched lions before, in wildlife sanctuaries. Those lions are still wild, but they’re well fed and not likely to attack you if you don’t upset them, but this lion was the king of his jungle and I was just potential lion food. But there he was, so calm, and I really wanted to touch him. He wasn’t even hungry!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI was prevented from following my desire by a little factoid in the back of my head. “Lions are cats.” Maybe he wouldn’t eat me, but if I dangled my skinny arm like a piece of string in front of the giant sleeping kitty, and he happened to wake up, he’d probably swat at the string the way kittens swat at yarn. So though it would be awesome, having the big cat swat at me out of curiosity might mean the loss of my arm, which I need for driving, holding a spoon, and stuff like that. So I watched him a good while, and decided to keep my arm for another day. Not to mention the rest of me, which I’m quite fond of. But next time I get a chance, I’m going to pet another lion. They feel just like stiff carpets! And if I’m lucky, I won’t get eaten then either.

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11 thoughts on “Avoid Getting Eaten by Lions

  1. Wow. You really were lucky. I prefer to pet my lions when they not only feel like stiff carpets, but they actually are stiff carpets.
    That sounded more horrible than I intended.
    Lovely post.

  2. The Kruger Park is one of my favourite places šŸ™‚ We live in Johannesburg and go there as often as we can. We were there over Easter and are busy planning a trip for Christmas. We saw our first Cheetah there on our Easter visit – awesome. I am so glad you didn’t dangle your arm out the window, always best to keep a healthy respect even if they do act like little kitties!

    • You live in Jo’burg! That’s so cool. I spent about a year in Southern Africa, mostly in Botswana and South Africa, with a little time in Namibia, Zim, Zambia and Tanzania. I love the animals and the scenery is so beautiful. It’s great to have someone reading me from so far away. Thanks!

      • Wow, sounds like you made the most of your year travelling, visiting all those countries! I also love the wildlife and the scenery here šŸ™‚

  3. It’s quite easy to get so focused on photography that you loose touch with what is going on around you. I’m glad that your story ended happily. Don’t forget that cats like to pretend to be asleep when they aren’t in order to play with their prey. Keeping your arm inside the car was a smart move, no matter how irresistible petting a cat can be sometimes.

    • Lions are amazing. They’re quite calm… no doubt because very little threatens them. I highly recommend meeting one up close, even if it’s somewhere tame like a wildlife sanctuary. Thanks for reading!

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