Sure, lions are at the top of the food chain, but even the most feared predators are susceptible to the stings of bees.
Such was the case when Kalahari lionesses were attacked by a swarm of African bees while attempting to take a nap at the Craig Lockhart waterhole in South Africa`s Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
The photos, captured by wildlife photographer Andrew Forsyth, show the struggle we are all too familiar with as the lionesses make a futile effort to get the bees to buzz off. But the lions were too slow; their shady rest in 100-plus degree heat soon became a lost cause.
“It only took a handful of these aggressive insects buzzing around the lions’ faces and inside their nostrils to ruin the siesta, they eventually decided to up-sticks and retreat to the dunes," Forsyth said.
While Forsyth found the ordeal amusing, he didn`t think it was quite as funny when one of the bees stung him on the back while he was taking photos.
African honey bees are more aggressive, but not more venomous, than honey bees native to Europe and America. According to the Smithsonian, African bees are the ancestors of Africanized honey bees, known as "killer bees" in the United States. Both species are quicker to swarm and defend their hives than the European varieties.
"It was like watching a contest between a lightweight and heavyweight boxer, with the lightweight just moving around scoring with little jabs that slowly wore the opponent down," Forsyth said.