Beauty and the beast: Stunning pictures capture the moment a lion locks eyes on a butterfly floating peacefully around her head in Botswana

 The brightly coloured insect was spotted calmly flying next to a lion and almost landing on the predator'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.

Mr Steel, 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.'

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He added: 'The beautiful female lion was lying down, propped up against an ant hill in lovely afternoon light. '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.

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