When Patrick and his guests happened across this unfamiliar male Leopard, they were surprised that his first reaction was an ugly snarl, but then relieved that the action was not directed at them.
Maybe it’s the damage to his right, maxilla canine that makes him so irascible? Toothache can be a horrible thing!
The Leopard was merely protecting his hard-earned meal from the unwanted attentions of Vultures. Leopards will usually discard the stomach contents of their prey immediately after making the kill. This serves them in two ways: firstly it removes a large portion of the weight from the carcass, making it easier for the Leopard to drag the carcass and if necessary carry it up a tree and secondly it serves as a distraction for the attentions of any nearby scavengers from the actual kill, Leopards will also often cover the entrails with grass to hide this from the `eyes-in-the-sky’ and it also suppresses the odours that might travel on any breeze to foraging Hyaenas, Lions and other scavengers.
After his initial display, a Hooded Vulture had the audacity to land close to the discarded entrails of his prey and the Leopard reacted with fury, instantly launching into a dust-kicking charge that ended with him directing a baleful stare up at the escaped thief.