Do Lions Eat Other Lions? When and Why Do Lions Prey on Other Lions?

Do Lions Eat Other Lions

As remarkable as they are, lions can be very dangerous. As a result, it’s not surprising that people are interested in the habits and diets of lions.

As a top predator, lions have earned a reputation for their fierceness and skill in the hunt. The fact that they are carnivores is hardly in doubt, yet other mysteries persist. A natural thought that may occur to you while you watch two lions fighting on television is, “Do lions eat other lions?” What happens to the corpses of the unsuccessful lions once they are killed?

Whether you want to know if lions eat other lions or if they have any other unusual eating preferences, this article has all the information you need. That being said, let’s get into action.

Facts About Lion Eating Lions

Lions are carnivores. A carnivore is any creature, whether predator or scavenger, that gets all or almost all of its nutrition from eating animals. But they are not usually cannibals. As natural carnivores, lions subsist on the flesh of other animals, particularly the meat of grazing animals. It implies that these predators don’t typically consume other meat-eating creatures, including other lions, since other meat-eating animals don’t give the resources these predators require to live and prosper.

Lion Infanticide

You may have heard the word “infanticide” often in the news. As the name implies, this occurs when an adult male or female of the same species murders a young member of the same species. Infanticide happens in the world of lions as well.

Whenever a new alliance of males takes control of a pride, the cubs in the pride are almost always killed. Like mothers of other animals, mother lions may try to hide their cubs from migrant predators or fight back if they are attacked. Older cubs are less of a burden to safeguard since they will leave the pride in a shorter time. Also, when claiming a female lion, male lions solely consume their cubs. 

Females have been shown to have better reproductive success if they avoid having single cubs and instead focus on having many, bigger litters. The mother of lion cubs has been seen committing infanticide by abandoning her kids when there is just one cub left. A mother may consume her youngster to cover her tracks or to keep it hidden from other predators.

Food Shortage and Lion Eating Lion

Lions seldom prey on or kill another lion for food or sport. In extreme circumstances, such as a food crisis, a lion may murder and consume another lion, but only the eldest lion in the pride. When food is scarce, mother lions may eat their cubs if doing so improves their chances of survival.

Related Article: How Much Does a Lion Cost?

What Do Lions Eat?

Meat accounts for more than 70% of a lion’s diet. Despite the high metabolic rate, lions’ bodies cannot synthesize enough amino acids on their own. Lions can only meet their nutritional needs by eating the flesh of other animals.

Even though they can’t properly digest plant matter, lions sometimes snack on grass and fruit anyhow. Unfortunately, lions lack the necessary enzymes for digesting plant stuff. Therefore, they can only effectively digest meat. Every animal that falls into a lion’s jaws is fair game. Therefore, in the wild, they eat a broad range of species.

Lions’ favorite foods are zebras, buffaloes, pigs, hippos, antelopes, giraffes, wildebeests, rhinoceroses, etc. Lions also feed on the young and the weak of larger animals. They exist mostly on the carcasses left by the pride’s hunters. Half of a lion’s food comes from scraps while they’re out in the wild.

lion eating its prey
Image credit: Justin Bezuidenhout, Shutterstock

How Much Do Lions Eat a Day?

Hardly quantifiable! Lions, on the whole, aren’t the kind to eat every single day. It’s true that some lions go four or five days without eating.

Some estimates say that lions may consume as much as 15 percent of their body weight in a single meal. Big male lions may weigh up to 440 pounds, so that’s a massive 66 pounds of meat and flesh in one sitting.

Female lions may weigh up to 130 kg, which means they can consume around 20 kg in a single meal. A lion’s weekly caloric intake should account for around 20% of its body weight. Though, estimating how much they consume is a challenge. These creatures are entirely wild.

Lions are slow runners and are very skilled predators to outmaneuver their prey. To maximize their chances of catching their prey, they stalk it to within striking distance. They may surprise an animal by jumping on it without the animal seeing or hearing them coming. They trap their prey by cutting their target from behind when it is walking or sprinting. After a successful hunt, they may chow down on a massive meal. The cycle of life on the savanna includes moments when the animals go hungry.

The lion pride is able to change with the seasons just like any other animal. When things are good, as when the big wildebeest migration is in their area, they will eat until they are sick.

Lions have a well-deserved reputation for being greedy, so much so that they will go on a hunting spree even if they aren’t starving. When a lion has just killed and is enjoying a juicy zebra, it may typically abandon the carcass in favor of a new prey item if another animal approaches.

In the green season, many baby antelopes make it simple for inexperienced lions to find prey. During the dry season, the task becomes considerably more difficult when there is little vegetation and little water.

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Do Lions Have a Predator?

Humans are the only major threat to lions. Humans pose the greatest danger to lions because of their hunting and encroachment on their habitat. Hyenas might kill a lion if it were extremely young or unwell.

Lions are not picky in their hunting and seldom target people in their attacks. Although uncommon, there have been documented examples of lone lions acquiring a desire for human flesh and turning into man-eaters. However, the public has an irrational fear of lions that outweighs their actual danger. Sadly, several lions have met their end at the hands of local ranchers who, understandably, are afraid for their safety and that of their animals.

The environment usually hosts a wide array of predators. Predators like hyenas, buffalo, crocodiles, hippos, leopards, cheetahs, and even wild dogs can prey on lions. As a means of self-defense or territorial marking, some of their predators are not afraid to confront them.

Do Hyenas Eat Lions?

Yes. Hyenas are major predators of lions. Adult lions are more complicated to kill than cubs; hence hyenas prefer to feast on the cubs. There are more hyenas everywhere in Africa than any other big animal.

If you want to kill a lioness quickly and easily, you’ll need at least ten hyenas, and for a male lion, you’ll need twice as many.


The bottom line is that it is possible for a lion to eat another lion. It’s a long shot, but not impossible. 
So, if Mufasa eats Simba in The Lion King, don’t be surprised! It can happen, not in the movie, maybe, but in real life, yes!

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