What Do Lions Eat – Lions Diet

The simple answer to the question “What Do Lions Eat” is that they eat flesh and meat. To get the meat they hunt other animals. The lion is an apex predator which means that it hunts most of the animals that are found in its habitat. This makes it the king of the jungle. We have gathered complete information about What Do Lions Eat and listed down the animals that form part of the Lions DietYou are also going to learn why do it eats meat only, their diet in the wild and captivity, how much they eat per day, how do they eat, when do they eat and where do they eat.

What Do Lions Eat

1. What Food Do Lions Eat – What Is A Lions Diet

  • A lion is carnivorous in nature and its diet exclusively consists of the flesh or meat of other animals.
  • A carnivore is an organism that obtains its nutrients and energy almost exclusively from the animal tissues, via scavenging or predation.
  • A lion is also an “Apex Predator”, which means it exists at the top position of the food chain and no other animals can hunt it.
  • Lions are also “Obligate Carnivores”, which means they rely only on the flesh of other animals for their nutritional needs.
  • The animals that consume meat, as well as non-animal foods, are known as “Facultative Carnivores”.

What Do Lions Eat - Lions Diet

2. Why Do Lions Eat Meat

  • As lions are “Obligate Carnivores”, it means more than 70% part of their diet consists of meat.
  • Lion’s’ body does not produce all the amino acids it needs for survival. So to fulfill their nutritional requirements, lions must eat meat or flesh of other animals.
  • They may also eat some vegetation, however, they cannot digest vegetation.
  • The reason is that the digestive system of lions is naturally designed for the digestion of only meat and it lacks the enzymes for the breakdown of plant matter.

3. What Animals Do Lions Eat

  • Lions eat every animal they can prey on.
  • Mostly, they prey:
    • buffaloes
    • rhinoceros
    • younger elephants
    • hippopotamus
    • zebras
    • giraffes
    • crocodiles
    • wild hogs
    • and antelopes.
  • Occasionally, they also prey on small animals if they found them, like:
    • tortoises
    • lizards
    • hares
    • mice
    • and birds.

 4. What Do Lions Eat In The Wild – Lions Diet In The Wild

  • In the wild, lions eat every animal they can capture. The animals that became their diet in the wild are of a widely diverse range.
  • Mostly, they prey on animals that have a mass of 50 to 300 kg.
  • Pigs, buffaloes, zebras, antelopes, giraffes, rhinos, hippos, and wildebeests are the most common animals lions eat in the wild.
  • They also prey on the younger individuals of big size animals like elephants and rhinos.
  • Every lion kills approximately 15 large animals per year.
  • Mostly they are fed by the carrion and of kills made by the other group members of lions’ pride.
  • Usually, lions in the wild obtained more than half of their diet via scavenging.

5. What Do Lions Eat At The Zoo – What Do Lions Eat In The Captivity

  • In captivity, lions are usually fed with beef and other various types of meat like chicken, rabbit, sheep, and horse.
  • Beef bones are also sometimes included in their diet.
  • Besides animal flesh, lions in captivity are also regularly fed with various commercial feline foods specially formulated according to their species. These special feline foods fulfill all the basic dietary requirements of lions.

Learn: How Long Do Lions Live

6. What Do African Lions Eat

  • African lions prey on large animals found in the grasslands like
    • wildebeests,
    • antelopes,
    • and zebras.

Lions Diet

7. What Do White Lions Eat

  • Like other lions, white lions are also obligate carnivores, and their diet is exclusively composed of the flesh of other animals.
  • White lions are rarely found in the wild (they lived originally in Timbavati, South Africa) where they eat various herbivorous animals like buffalos, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, and rabbits.
  • White lions are mostly found in captivity, where they are fed like other lion species with the flesh of various animals and specially formulated commercial foods.

8. What Do Lions Like To Eat

  • Lions like and always prefer to eat the flesh of other animals as their digestive system is naturally designed in such a way that it could only digest animal tissues.
  • Their favorite animals include large herbivores like:
    • buffalo
    • wildebeest
    • antelopes
    • zebra
    • giraffe
    • rhino
    • hippo
    • wild hogs
    • crocodiles
    • young elephants.

9. How Much Do Lions Eat – How Many Times Do Lions Eat A Day

  • Studies reveal that the estimated average amount of food per day eaten by a lion in the wild is between 10 and 25 pounds (4.5 and 11 kg).
  • If food is available in a large amount, a male lion is capable of eating up to 43 kg of meat in a day while a female can consume up to 25 kg.
  • According to The Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the recommended average amount of per day food requirement of a male lion in captivity is 3.6kg (8 pounds) and of a female lion is 2.7 kg (6 pounds).

10. How Often Do Lions Eat

  • Lions need to eat every day.
  • Without food, they can survive for a maximum of 14 days.

11. How Do Lions Eat Their Food

  • A lion is a carnivore and has a typical carnivore dental structure, which is composed of three types of teeth:
    • Incisors
    • Canines
    • Carnassials
  • They utilize their teeth and powerful jaw muscles to eat food.
  • Lions are capable to open their jaws up to 11 inches (28 cm) wide, and their bite is one of the biggest bites of the animal kingdom.
  • The incisors are smaller than all the teeth located at the front of the mouth which they used for gripping while tearing meat.
  • Lions have long (up to 7 cm), extremely sharp, and slightly recurved canine teeth through which they grasp and kill the prey.
  • They have the sharpest carnassial teeth at the backside of their mouth which they used for tearing away the chunks of meat.
  • They do not chew food and directly swallow the unchewed chunks of meat.

12. Where Do Lions Eat

  • Lions usually eat their prey at the site of the hunt.
  • However, if they kill their prey in the water, they drag it to the ground and then eat it.
  • If they do not finish all the meat at a time, they safeguard it from scavengers and wait for some hours before eating it.
  • Lions also sometimes drag their kill to shade usually in summer to avoid the extensive rays of sunlight.

13. When Do Lions Eat

  • Lions typically hunt at night, however, they can be active in the daytime too.
  • After a successful hunt, the adult males of pride eat first who are followed by the lionesses, and then finally by the cubs and older members of the pride.

14. Do Lions Eat Giraffes

  • A lion is the only animal that can prey on adult giraffes.
  • However, lions do not often prey on giraffes because of their large size and powerful hind limbs, one kick on which could kill or cripple a lion.
  • Often, a whole pride takes part in the tackling and predation giraffes.

15. Do Lions Eat Gazelles

  • A gazelle is any member of the genus Gazella that includes many antelope species.
  • A lot of the gazelle species (or antelope) are part of Lion’s diet.

16. Do Lions Eat Zebras

  • Yes, lions do eat zebra and it is the main predator of zebra.

Do Lions Eat Zebras

17. Do Lions Eat Elephants

  • A lion is the only natural predator of elephants that has enough power to kill such a large animal.
  • To kill an elephant, the whole pride of lions usually takes part in the task.
  • Lions usually prey the newborn and younger elephants, however, they also sometimes capture adult individuals.

18. Do Lions Eat Birds

  • Lions sometimes eat birds.
  • Small birds are not the best option for lions to prey, however, they prey on large birds like ostriches.

19. Do Lions Eat Mice

  • Lions sometimes eat mice.

20. Do Lions Eat Foxes

  • Yes, lions eat foxes.
  • But, the fox is a small animal and does not provide enough foodstuff for a lion.
  • So lions usually avoid foxes, however, in case of food scarcity lions would eat foxes.

23. Do Lions Eat Rhinos

  • Rhinos are one of the basic prey of lions.
  • However, due to the super-large size of adult rhinos, lions rarely attack them.
  • Lions usually prefer to pray to juvenile and younger rhinos.

24. Do Lions Eat Tigers

  • Tiger is also an apex predator like a lion and exits on the top of the food chain.
  • The fight between a lion and a tiger is very rare because a tiger is a solitary animal.
  • Lions are not observed for eating a tiger.
  • However, the newborns and younger individuals of both lions and tigers are vulnerable and prone to attack by other animals.

25. Do Lions Eat Leopards

  • A lion was seemed of attacking killing a leopard.
  • As a lion is bigger than a leopard, it may kill the adult leopard.
  • Lions also eat the cubs of leopards.

26. Do Lions Eat Cheetahs

  • Yes, lions are seemed of killing and eating cheetahs.
  • Lions also eat about 25 to 55% cubs of cheetahs.

27. Do Lions Eat Wolves

  • Lions and wolves are not found in the same regions, so lions do not seem to be attacking or eating wolves.

28. Do Lions Eat Fish

  • Lions are not observed in eating fish.
  • However, lions may eat fish if they are found or caught.

29. Do Lions Eat Plants – Do Lions Eat Grass

  • Lions are obligate carnivores and can’t eat plants.
  • Their digestive system is not naturally designed for digesting plant matters.
  • Their teeth are designed in such a way that they can not chew food and that is why lions swallow meat chunks directly.
  • If they eat plants, it would cause stomach upsetness and would induce vomiting.
  • Folic acid is an essential vitamin for obligate carnivores and grasses are rich in folic acid.
  • Lions often chew on the folic acid-containing grasses and extract the juice to fulfill their need.

30. Do Lions Eat Each Other – Do Lions Eat Lions

  • Lions often kill each other in pride conflict and in taking the control of a new territory.
  • Lions are also known for killing the females of the new territory if they refuse to mate.

31. Do Lions Eat Their Cubs – Do Lions Eat Their Young

  • Yes, lions are seemed of killing and eating their young cubs.

32. Why Lions Eat Their Young

  • Lions often kill and eat their cubs to impregnate (make pregnant) the female (the mother of cubs).
  • Lions also kill and eat the young cubs when they take control of another territory and stake their claim on the females.

33. What Animals Eat Lions

  • A lion is itself an apex predator and an adult healthy lion does not have any natural predator.
  • However, hyenas sometimes kill and eat extremely weak, sick, and old lions.
  • The newborn cubs are also vulnerable and sometimes cheetahs and hyenas became successful in stealing and eating them.

34. Do Lions Eat Humans – Do Lions Eat People

  • Usually, lions do not eat humans, however, some lions (especially males) have been observed eating humans.
  • One of the well-known cases is 1898, Tsavo man-eaters, in which 28 railway construction workers were eaten by a pair of lions in 9 months, while they were building the Kenya-Uganda railway.
  • A report by American and Tanzanian scientists revealed that at least 563 villagers were attacked and many were eaten by lions from 1990 to 2005 in the rural areas of Tanzania.
  • According to Packer, the estimated number of Tanzanian people killed each year by wild animals is between 200 to 400, out of which at least 70 are killed by lions.
  • In April 2004, game scouts killed a man-eating lion in Southern Tanzania, which was believed to have been killed and eaten by at least 35 people in several villages along the Rufiji River.
  • Asiatic lions may also become man-eaters sometimes. In 2012, two attacks on humans were reported in a region about 50 to 60 km from the Gir sanctuary.

35. Why Do Lions Eat Humans

  • According to researchers, various factors are involved in the lions’ predation on humans.
  • Among all, the most dominant factor is the depletion of prey in human-dominated regions which induces the lions to attack and eat humans.
  • In a few man-eating incidents, lions were injured or suffered from tooth decay, however, this factor is not favored by all of the researchers.
  • Kerbis Peterhans and Gnoske, who analyzed the man-eating incidents of lions including the Tsavo incident, describe the man-eating behavior of lions as “not unusual nor necessarily ‘aberrant’”. They describe this behavior as “opportunistic”, if the corps of human beings are in the access of lions, they will regularly prey upon humans.
  • The hunters who killed the Tsavo man-eaters detailed that the lions were bigger than the normal size and were without manes (generally, male lions in the Tsavo region do not have manes). They also described that one of them suffered from tooth decay.

36. Do People Eat Lions – Do Africans Eat Lions

  • Crawford Allan, who is an expert on the illegal wildlife trade and is working for the conservation group of the World Wildlife Fund, said that lions are bred and farmed in the USA for their meat to sell in restaurants.
  • In recent years, the meat of a lion is included in the menu of several restaurants in the USA, where it is eaten as a steak or as a lion taco.
  • The eating of lion meat is unusual around the African continent, as the meat of lions is not thought to be palatable in Africa.

Murad Ali Khan is a researcher, writer & editor, who believes in generating quality content. He leads an awesome team of high school students, teachers & IT graduates who helps him in creating & maintaining educational Websites & Apps.
When not tinkering on the web, Murad enjoys going on hikes, read Latest Science News, plays tennis & hangs out with his friends.

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