Tough Little Turtle Lets Lions Know Who's Boss Of This Watering Hole

“It was an incredibly rare sighting for me to film" 🐢💪

For these thirsty lions, it might have seemed like just a run-of-the-mill watering hole — a convenient spot to stop at and cool their throats.

But, turns out, it was more than merely an oversized puddle.

It was home to a little turtle. And he evidently wasn’t eager for company.


Reggi Barreto, a safari guide and photographer, was in South Africa’s MalaMala Private Game Reserve with a client when they spotted a pair of big cats. Barreto grabbed his camera — not realizing the drama he was about to capture.

“I knew the lions would look for water to drink, and we positioned ourselves in the perfect spot with the sunlight in our favor, ready for the sighting,” Barreto told “What came next we did not expect.”

While the lions drank, they caught the attention of the watering hole’s resident turtle. And, well, here’s how that played out:

The tough turtle apparently had no reservations when it came to approaching those much-bigger lions, though they seemed to regard him as little more than a nuisance.

Still, to even witness such a lopsided standoff was something special for Barreto.

“It was an incredibly rare sighting for me to film," he said.