By Jack Williams
This is the incredible moment a pair of lions became intrigued by an ultra-rare pangolin that they discovered in the wild – trying to no avail to crack open the creature’s rock-solid shell.
In the amazing infrared footage, the two inquisitive lions can be seen playing with the creature as it tightens into a defensive ball.
The threats to pangolins have received increasing levels of attention in recent years – mainly due to the illegal sale of scales and skins – and sightings of the creatures in the wild are extremely rare.
The playful moment took place in the Masia Mara Triangle, in Kenya, and was captured by the safariLIVE team.
Tristan Dicks of SafariLIVE said: “[We’ve had] a lot of the interest in the video based on the fact that the pangolin is such a rare sighting, due to its vulnerability in the wild.
“It is a very special sighting, so a lot of people realised how lucky I was to have found it while out on a game drive.
According to Tristan, the group were following a pride of lions on December 16, 2018, when, under the cover of darkness, some began to peel off.
The group believed that those remaining to lie down were pausing to groom themselves, but having set up the infrared camera, they then realised that the two remaining lions were playing with something.
Tristan and others moved a little closer, joking that the lions could be playing with a pangolin – only to discover that they actually were.
Speaking of how the scene played out, Tristan added: “As we approached we saw the lions had indeed grabbed a pangolin and they were trying to crack its hard scales.
“Unfortunately for the lions, due to the rain the scales were slippery and they couldn’t penetrate the armour.
“Luckily for the pangolin, they left it alone once they got bored.”