The sequence shows the brazen hippopotamus, snapped from behind, as it emerges from the water as three male lions come to drink.

Taken by photographer Jan Hrbacek, 55, at the Chobe National Park in Botswana, they show the hippo isn’t phased by the big cats as it heads straight towards them before the trio scarper.

Jan, from Decin, Czech Republic, said: “The lions come to drink at a small waterhole when the hippo was watching them. Suddenly the hippo rushed out from the water and chased the lions out.

“Hippos are extremely territorial, they don’t tolerate other animals in their territory.

“The lions were scared of the hippo. Hippos are powerful animals. They could kill or injure them.”

Jan, who has been taking photographs for 20 years, was guiding a group of photographers when the images were taken late last year.

Jan added: “I was happy with how the images turned out. I‘d never seen anything similar.“

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