Brave butterfly flies dangerously close to Lion

This is the moment a daring butterfly risked being snapped up for dinner when it flew dangerously close to a lion.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS - The butterfly almost forced the lion to sneeze.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS – The butterfly almost forced the lion to sneeze.

The brightly coloured butterfly was spotted calmly flying next to a lion and almost landing on the big cat’s head.

But while looking a little annoyed, the female lion appeared to be somewhat of a gentle giant as she allowed the butterfly to fly peacefully around it.

Careful not to aggravate the lion too much and perhaps sensing its annoyance, the gentle butterfly soon flew away.

This image was captured by photographer William Steel in Chobe National Park near to his home in Botswana, Africa.

 WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS - The gentle butterfly soon flew away after she realized the lion was annoyed.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS – The gentle butterfly soon flew away after she realized the lion was annoyed.


William, 24, said: “I was guiding two friends from England while on a month long road trip through Southern Africa.

“My guests were enjoying their first ever lion sighting, a large pride, as they slowly made their way along the Chobe River. 

“The beautiful female lion was lying down, propped up against an ant hill in lovely afternoon light.

 WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS - The brightly coloured butterfly was spotted calmly flying next to a lion and almost landing on the big cats head.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS – The brightly coloured butterfly was spotted calmly flying next to a lion and almost landing on the big cats head.

“It raised its head to investigate a passing herd of impala when suddenly, out of the blue, the bravest of butterflies began to fly directly at the lion’s face in repeated aerial dive bombs. 

“The lion simply glared in annoyance each time the defiant butterfly brushed past its face. 

“The simple answer is the butterfly was simply too small to effect the lion, like the constant pestering flies on its face, lions become tolerant to these irritants. 

“Although I like to think that maybe the lion also saw the beauty in the moment.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS - A daring butterfly risked being snapped up for dinner when it flew dangerously close to a lion.

WILLIAM STEEL / CATERS NEWS – A daring butterfly risked being snapped up for dinner when it flew dangerously close to a lion.


“After about five flybys the butterfly finally realized it may have picked on someone the wrong size and continued its journey along the Chobe River in an erratic carefree flutter.

“I was thrilled, the sighting was spectacular, and it is always a joy to have such a close sighting, this was simply the sweetest possible cherry on the cake. 

“As a wildlife photographer you are always pushing for that extra drama in an image, I could not have imagined this was going to come from the likes of a beautiful and brave butterfly.”