A family of tourists got a huge fright when a female lion sauntered over to their vehicle at a safari park in South Africa, and then opened their car door with her teeth.
The video runs 1:12, and shows the terrifying moment. It was first uploaded to YouTube in March of 2014 by Joshua Sutherland. But it went viral for the first time a few days ago after it was posted to Reddit.
Sutherland introduces the video on YouTube with the ominous question, “Did you know lions could open car doors?”
According to Sutherland, his sisters Kaylene and Cindy, who were visiting their missionary parents in South Africa, went to see the lions at a safari park.
The video shows the moment the incredible incident happened. The family, riding in a car, approaches a pride of lions. One of the lions appears to have a light-bulb moment. She gets up and wanders leisurely to the car while the humans snap photos. The humans can be heard laughing as the female lion pushes her head against the door and looks through the window. But their laughs turn into shrieks of fright when the lioness unexpectedly opens the door with her teeth.
Fortunately, someone had the presence of mind, despite being frightened, to slam the door shut and lock it.
“You were supposed to lock the door,” a woman screams.
“Oh, my gosh, I didn’t know they could do that,” another answers.
Reddit users debated whether the lion acted deliberately or whether the action was accidental.
“It’s natural for the lions to test things in their mouth, and the instinct is to ‘pull away,’ like when they eviscerate something.
“Something tells me that was not the first time the lion had done that.”
It is uncertain whether that was the first time that the lioness had opened a car door with her teeth. But that was not the first time that a lion had used its teeth to open a car door to the shock of visitors at a South African safari park.
The Telegraph reported a similar incident in 2014 where a lioness at a safari park in Johannesburg opened a passenger door with her teeth. Her movements, which appeared deliberate, suggested that lions that encounter cars daily could learn how to open car doors.
The driver of the car sped off while the lioness pursued. A warden at the gate stopped the lioness by hurling stones at her.
These incidents show why you must ensure that your car doors are locked when you are visiting a safari park.
The video went viral during a week in which other animal photos and videos — including one showing a weasel riding on the back of a woodpecker in England — have gone viral.
The hashtag #Weaselpecker continued trending on Twitter for several days.