Lions are the most important hunters in the African vastness.
One adult lion weighs 240 kilograms, a lioness weighs 180 kilograms. Only the tiger can compete with the lion in the weight category. The jaw of this big cat is very powerful and its fangs are 8 centimeters long, which allows them to attack the largest animals. Predators are quite different in color from dark brown to yellowish.
There are lions with white coloration in nature, there are only about 100 lions in the world. Baby lions at birth have spots that gradually disappear when they reach puberty. Lions also have the tallest shoulders of any feline.
The kings of beasts live in small families, called pride. One pride can include up to 15 individuals, of which 1 or 2 lions, all the other females, and their offspring. Lionesses for life remain in the pride in which they were born. Young lions are expelled from the pride when they reach the age of three.
They can get their own pride if they win it from other males. Each inhabitant of the pride has its own duties, for example, lions guard the territory and fend off strangers. Lionesses hunt, protect and raise their young.
What do lions eat in the wild?
Lions are carnivores and eat only meat. The main food provider in the pride is the lionesses. A lion needs 7 to 8 kilos of meat a day to feed itself. Though at one time the king of beasts can eat up to 30 kg.
The animals usually hunt at night or even during the day, trying to get as close to their prey as possible. This is because a lion can only develop great speed at short distances and it is very difficult to catch up with the prey from afar. During the day lions prefer to rest.
The basis of the diet of lions in Africa are most often zebras, gnu, warthogs, and buffalo. Occasionally they also consume smaller animals, such as Thomson’s gazelle and antelope. Less often they attack adult giraffes, elephants, hippos, and impalas. Only adult rhinos are lucky; lions avoid them completely. They also feed on carrion or take food from smaller predators. Lions also hunt domestic herbivores.
In a zoo, the diet of a lion is not as varied as in the wild. Mostly they are given beef.
How do lions hunt?
If a lion lives in pride with female lions, only the females go hunting, because the lion is too heavy and clumsy. However, if the male has not yet formed a family, or if he was kicked out of the pride by a stronger leader, he has to find his own food. What does the solitary lion eat? It is much harder for him to get food than the agile and fast lionesses, so he does not bite either fallen or small animals, as it is difficult to defeat a large antelope or a buffalo by himself.
Things are much easier for a lion with a family. Females hunt in groups of several, surrounding a herd of zebras or a straggler animal. They attack from several sides at once, grabbing the victim’s neck with their huge fangs. The prey cannot breathe and soon dies of suffocation.
However, in the wild, it’s much easier to catch prey than to keep it, because the smell of fresh meat immediately attracts spongers who want to feast. It’s easier for pride to chase away intruding hyenas or leopards than for a lone lion. That’s why they must eat their prey quickly, while there is an opportunity.
Who is not attacked by lions?
There are animals in Africa that even big cats do not dare to attack. Not a single case of lions attacking rhinoceros has been recorded, hunting giraffes or hippos is not often successful, as these are large and strong animals.
A lion can try his forces only on the cubs of these animals. Another difficult prey for the lion’s pride is the buffalo, whose horns can cause fatal wounds to large cats, so they try to avoid them and attack only the wounded or sick animal.
Now you know what lions eat in the wild. This is a dangerous and strong animal, which is feared by absolutely all inhabitants of savannahs. After all, it is not for nothing that it is called the king of beasts.