A feisty four-inch crab impressively managed to keep a pride of man-eating lions at bay after coming claw-to-claw with them in the wild.
The crustacean had unusually come out of its burrow in daylight and was trying to cross a river at the MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa.
But in a stroke of bad luck, the scuttling crab was spotted by the Kambula pride of lions and lionesses and it sparked their curiosity.
Video footage showed one of the sub-adults taking a look at the freshwater crab, but it went up on its back legs with pincers raised in a bid to intimidate the predators.
A feisty four-inch crab (pictured) impressively managed to keep a pride of man-eating lions at bay after coming claw-to-claw with them at the MalaMala Game Reserve in South Africa
Within a few moments, four other young lions had joined in and surrounded the un-snappy crab in a pincer movement, but it bravely refused to back down.
In the video, the tiny crab carried on retreating to its burrow in the river bank and kept the lions at bay single-clawed until it could escape down its hole to safety.
The young predators, at about three feet tall at the shoulder and 275lbs in weight, should have easily taken out the crab.
But by snapping its claws at their curious soft noses, the wary lions kept a safe distance away from the crustacean, deciding it was safer to avoid the mane event.
Rangers Ruggiero Barreto, 30, and Robyn Sewell, 27, captured the unexpected encounter on video at the MalaMala Private Game Reserve.
The 33,000 acre Big Five reserve is one of the oldest and biggest in South Africa in the Kruger National Park which is full of predators.
The crustacean had unusually come out of its burrow in daylight and was trying to cross a river when it was spotted by the Kambula pride of lions and lionesses and sparked their curiosity
Video footage showed sub-adults peering at the freshwater crab, but it bravely went up on its back legs with pincers raised in an attempt to intimidate the predators
But they didn’t expect a lone crab to take on a pride of lions, telling LatestSightings.com: ‘We left the camp at sun rise with the hope of finding lions and were lucky enough to find a pride at a riverbank.
‘They were sheltering from the wind in the Mlowathi Riverbed and were sleeping so we thought we would drive on and look back a little later.
‘But suddenly we noticed one of the sub-adults get up and start staring at something and at first we thought it was a scorpion but it was a crab.
‘They normally only come out after dark but this one was crossing the river in daylight and it aroused the curiosity of the young lions in the pride.
‘The lions were surprised by the appearance of perhaps something they had not seen before and the first lion went over to investigate what it was.’
The rangers quipped that not many people would have expected the crab to win the unusual face-off and were shocked to see the crustacean make his clever escape.
They added: ‘The crab went up on its back legs and had its claws at the ready.
‘The poor little fella was trying to make it to the riverbank where its burrow was when more lions came over to check it out until there were five of them.
In the video, the tiny crab carried on retreating to its burrow in the river bank keeping the lions at bay single-clawed until it could escape down its hole to safety
Rangers Ruggiero Barreto, 30, and Robyn Sewell, 27, captured the unexpected encounter on video at the 33,000 acre Big Five reserve
‘The crab kept its claws up at the lions as it backed up until it made the bank and disappeared into a burrow and then the young lions lost interest.
‘Not many betting people would have given the crab good odds on making it across the river past a pride of lions but this little fella was up for it.’
The only crab in the world with enough force in its claws to match a lion bite is the coconut crab, which grows to 18 inches and has super-strength pincers.
Marine biologist Shinichiro Oka said: ‘The pinching force of the largest coconut crab is almost equal to the bite force of an adult lion it is so strong.
‘They can generate a force of about 90 times their body weight allowing them to crush something with about six tons of force so close to a lion.’
The bird-eating-behemoths are found on the islands in the Indian and Pacific Ocean and are so strong can smash open coconuts and could lift a 10-year-old child.