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If someone asked you to think of a magnificent hunter, chances are a lion's image would pop into your head. They have virtually no predators. The earth is their buffet table. Well, with at least one exception. This African-crested porcupine is surrounded by young lion cubs. The adults are too smart to fool around with this small beast. Those quills may be modified hairs, but they are needle sharp, strong and there are plenty of them! What the adults know is that porcupine needles can actually pierce the flesh of lion, and these wounds could even kill it. Nevertheless, a porcupine is a juicy delicacy. And these curious cubs look for a way to get a paw under it, flip it and attack. But, the prickly porcupine fends off the cubs and, eventually, good sense wins out over hunger. The victorious porcupine moves off. Yeah, king of the jungle – big deal.
This porcupine has to walk through a pride of adult lions. They're interested, but once again, those quills give the porcupine the equivalent of an impenetrable missile defence shield. This pride of lions doesn't have much to be proud about today.
© National Geographic
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