This is the unusual moment a lion cub cuddles up to an adult male who just took over its pride and killed another youngster.
Astonishing pictures show the unlikely friends snuggling and play fighting just moments after the male lion chased away the youngster’s father.
The adult male can’t help but crack a smile as the curious cub sticks its paw in his mouth and plays with his giant fangs.
Open wide! A curious cub plays with a male lion who just took over its pride… and the adult can’t help but crack a smile
Normally when a male lion takes over a pride it kills the cubs to show dominance and start a fresh family with the females.
Which is why photographer Victoria Coombe was amazed to see the pair in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya become so friendly.
She said: ‘This pride was incredibly interesting to watch during our stay.
The youngster dices with death as he sticks his paw in the mouth of the male adult
Normally when male lions take over a pride they kill any remaining cubs to start a fresh family with the females. Which is why these pictures from a Kenyan reserve are so unusual
Snapper Victoria Coombe said: ‘Our guides have only seen this type of behaviour a couple of times in all their years of working in the bush so it was a really interesting dynamic to watch’
‘According to our guides the two males had come in and taken over the pride, whilst doing this unfortunately as nature dictates they usually kill off any young cubs.
‘This in turn will set the females of the pride back into an oestrous cycle, thus allowing the new males to mate and produce a new litter of offspring with their DNA.
‘Our guides have said that they’ve only seen this type of behaviour a couple of times in their years of working in the bush so it was a really interesting dynamic to watch.’