Very few people are aware of what do lions eat! This article displays some of the essential facts about the lions’ diet. As we all know that lions are considered to be the most powerful and fearless predators in the whole jungle kingdom; they generally prey in groups rather than the solitary hunt.
What Do Lions Eat
Despite the fact that they stalk their prey they do not have greater stamina in that they give up running after a short while. The lion’s heart makes just 0.57% of their body weight in comparison to the hyena’s heart of about 1%. Therefore, in order to succeed, lions must be close by the prey before the final chase. In general, these wild animals stalk their prey within the distance of about 30 metres (98 feet) or less. For the reason that lioness is more assertive by nature, she does most of the hunting by leading the whole group. These lionesses stalk most of their prey by encircling it in the form of groups.
Lions predominantly kill medium-sized mammals including impalas, zebras, buffaloes, deer, nilgai, eland, wild boar, warthogs, kudu, gemsbok, hartebeest, springbok and Thomson’s gazelle. These preys weigh around 50 to 300 kg (110 to 660 lb). Lions are not particularly known to prey on large animals like giraffe due to the probability of causing severe injury during the kill. The study shows that these animals kill their prey within the range of about 190 – 550 kg (420 – 1210 lb). Though rarely, lions prey on young elephants, rhinos and hippos. More than 60% of the lion’s diet is composed of buffaloes especially in the Manyara Park. Lions are also known to take on domestic livestock in India. They are highly proficient to kill cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards and even hyenas; however, these victims are seldom eaten. Lions can devour up to 30 kg (66 lb) of food in a single venture. Because lions hunt in open areas they are easily noticeable by their predators. Field study of community ecology indicate that predators are more likely to suppress the populations of prey that they kill only opportunistically.
How Do Lions Hunt | What Do Lions Eat
Lions predominantly rely on animals weighing around 50 – 500 kg (110 – 1,100 lb), although they are opportunistic by nature and are known to take on even small birds, reptiles, hares, and rodents. Lions typically hunt at night in exposed lands where cover is sparse, but where there is dense vegetation, it is more likely to hunt during the day. Females do all these hunting and adult males rarely take part except in feeding. It’s the mane that makes adult males rather too conspicuous.
When lions hunt in groups, they normally fan out and partly encircle the prey, cutting off potential escape routes. Lions rarely exceed a speed of 58 km/h (36mph) while some preys are capable to escape at 80 km/h (50 mph), so in order to hunt lions need to use stealth approach to within about 30 meters (100 feet) of their prey. Lions can take down their prey from this distance or at least slap it on the flank before the prey actually escapes.
One of the hunting characteristics of lions is that they do not consider the direction of the wind although when they do so, they are probably much successful. One out of five lions is mostly ends up in a successful chase. Once the prey is grounded, it has a little or no chance to escape. Lions typically kill large animals by suffocating through biting on its throat or sometimes clamping the muzzle shut.
All members of the group participate in eating the prey. However, when the prey is scarce or the animal is small, dispute is more likely to arise among lions but serious injuries are rare. The adult males need 7 kg (15.4 lb) of meat per day while adult females require 5 kg (11 lb) per day.
Lions share their ranges with a large number of other carnivores such as cheetahs, spotted hyenas, leopards, and wild dogs, all of these species may feed on same prey species as lions. These animals tend to hunt animals weighing no more than 100 kg (220 lb); lions are the only cats in this region that typically kills animals weighing more than 250 kg (550 lb). Unlike other carnivores, lions often kill healthy prey species. Spotted hyenas are considered to be potentially strongest competitors for lionesses as they are large-bodied nocturnal hunters. However, hyenas do not stalk like cats do and they generally target calves or sick animals which are easy to hunt. According to a study carried out in Ngorongoro Crater region of the Serengeti (Tanzania), lions are virtually observed to benefit from the existence of hyenas, in that some 81 percent of all carcasses fed on by lions had been killed by hyenas.