Africa’s Most Successful Predators

In today’s posts we compare which predators have the most success when it comes to hunting. Most of big predators hunt ends in failure while smaller predators lose their kill to bigger predators, so let’s look at Africa’s most successful predators.

African Wild Dogs

Wild Dogs have the highest percentages for successful kills, according to studies 85 percent of the time they are successful in making a kill. Their lean frames and their coloring help wild dogs disguise themselves among the bush when it comes to making a kill.  

Wild Dogs are one of Africa's most successful hunters
© Big on Wild

Wild Dog unlike other animals won’t go straight for the kill, they will single out their prey and they will chase the animal until it is beyond fatigued and once the animal collapses they immediately begin feeding.

They might lose their fresh kills to bigger predators such as lions and now and then a large clan of hyenas.


They are known as scavengers but hyenas do actually hunt for their own food, studies show that 70% of the time they do get their own food. They have a 65 percent success rate when they hunt.

Hyena scavenging on a kill
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Hyenas use the same technique as wild dogs, they use their speed and stamina to run down their prey, they kill their prey by biting chunks out of it and targeting major blood vessels as it runs.


Even though cheetahs’ slim and lean body is the smallest compared to lions and leopards, thanks to their speed studies show they have a killing success of 58 percent.

Cheetah in the Kruger National Park - Africa's most successful predators
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Due to the cheetah poor night vision, they will hunt during the day, once the cheetah spots its prey and they are close enough without being spotted, they use their speed to launch an ambush. After catching the pray they might begin eating the prey before the prey is dead to prevent bigger predators of stealing the kill. 10% of the time cheetahs will lose their kill to bigger predators, which is why you will find them eating in more secluded or shadier spots.


Studies carried out show that leopards have a success rate of 38 percent, a female leopard has been shown to have a higher killing rate compared to a male leopard.

Leopard with a kill in a tree in the Kruger National Park - Africa's most successful predators
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A leopard will stalk its prey before ambushing it with a chase, and it will kill its prey with a bite to the neck. They do not have the ability to chase its prey for long distances therefore if it misses its target on the first run it usually abandon the chase.

Leopards usually do not lose its prey to bigger predators, because they carry their prey into the fork of a tree, occasionally lions might climb a tree to try steal the kill.

You can watch our video of the lions trying to steal a leopard kill below:


Even though they are the bigger predators among the rest, they have a 25 percentage of successful hunts, a single lion has a success rate of 17-19 percent, but when they hunt in large groups their success rate increases to 25 percent.

Their tawny coloration helps them blend in with their surroundings, they rely on stalking their prey and they seldom charge until they are 30m away from the prey.

Lion with a buffalo kill - Africa's most successful predators
© Big on Wild

Most successful hunts occur at night, but lions are opportunists and if a chance arises they will hunt no matter the circumstances.

In a large pride the lionesses are usually the ones that do most of the hunting, they will stalk their victim before deciding to pounce on them, several lions circle around a herd, and they will drive their victims towards some of the other lions hiding in tall grass.

It’s rare that lions will lose their prey to other, hyenas and vultures will swoop in once the lions abandon the kill.


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