Do Hyenas Eat Lions? (The Answer May Surprise You)

What would happen if you put a lion into a cage with a pack of hungry hyenas? Would they attack him or let him go? Hyenas are known to hunt other animals such as antelopes, zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles. They also scavenge dead carcasses.

These species are opportunistic predators who will take advantage of whatever food source is available. In some parts of Africa, hyena populations are increasing because their prey has become scarce due to human encroachment.

Do Hyenas Eat Lions

They are also very territorial and will even fight off other hyenas if they come too close to their territory.

Do Lions Eat Rhinos? (The Answer Ma...
Do Lions Eat Rhinos? (The Answer May Surprise You)

But what about lions? Can hyenas hunt them and attack them? Are they threatened by them, and can they actually kill them? We have all watched The Lion King so we know that hyenas are a lion’s biggest enemies, but is it all true?

Keep on reading our article to find out for yourselves!

How Good Are Hyenas At Hunting?

The hyena is a scavenger, and it’s not hard to see why. It has the best nose of any carnivore on Earth. Its eyesight is so good that it can spot an antelope from more than 1 kilometer away.

Its ears are so sensitive that it can hear a mouse squeak at over 100 meters, and its sense of smell is so acute that it can detect the scent of blood from up to 10 kilometers away.

In addition to being able to find food, hyenas are also very fast runners. Their top speed is about 40km/h (25mph). This practically means that they can run for hours without stopping.

That makes them great predators because they can catch large prey like antelopes before they lose too much energy.

Hyenas live in groups called clans that consist of one dominant male with several females and their offspring. The clan lives together year-round and travels together when necessary.

They are solitary hunters who hunt alone or in pairs. When hunting, they stalk their prey by following scent trails made by the animal. If the hyena does not catch its prey right away, it will return later to try again.

What About Their Diet?

The diet of a hyena consists mainly of meat from large animals (including other carnivores), but they are opportunistic feeders and may also eat plants, invertebrates, eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fish, rodents, birds, and even humans.

They have also been known to raid livestock enclosures for prey.

Do Hyenas Hunt Lions?

Hyenas do sometimes hunt lions because they scavenge from their kills. In fact, they may even try to steal food from lions if they spot them together, but this is rare.

If there is no food around, the hyenas might wait until a lion shows up to follow it home or to steal some of its food.

On rare occasions, they will hunt a lion in order to kill it, but rest assured that lions are predators too and will attack any animal that threatens their own survival.

So, while hyenas won’t choose big lions to hunt and kill when there are other options around, they will group and hunt a little cub by distracting the mother.

Do Hyenas Eat Lions

Do Hyenas Eat Lions?

The hyena is a scavenger, and it’s not hard to see why. It has the best nose of any carnivore on Earth. Its eyesight is so good that it can spot an antelope from more than 1 kilometer away.

Its ears are so sensitive that it can hear a mouse squeak at over 100 meters, and its sense of smell is so acute that it can detect the scent of blood from up to 10 kilometers away.

In addition to being able to find food, hyenas are also very fast runners. Their top speed is about 40km/h (25mph). This practically means that they can run for hours without stopping.

That makes them great predators because they can catch large prey like antelopes before they lose too much energy.

The diet of a hyena consists mainly of meat from large animals (including other carnivores), but they are opportunistic feeders and may also eat plants, invertebrates, eggs, reptiles, amphibians, fish, rodents, birds, and even humans. They have also been known to raid livestock enclosures for prey.

Can Hyenas Kill Lions?

Yes and no. A single hyena cannot kill a big lion. One of these reasons is that hyenas aren’t as strong as lions. Another reason is that hyenas have no sharp claws as lions have.

Also, hyenas don’t have strong teeth to kill an animal that is much stronger and bigger. Instead, they use their long snouts to grab onto their prey.

So, while hyenas might be able to chase down a young lioness, they won’t be able to hold on to her. That’s because they lack the strength and speed needed to do so.

Yet, even in this case, they can still harm them. For example, hyenas can cause lions to lose their footing and fall over, and most of the time, they can scare lions away from their kills.

Hyenas can also kill a lion if it is old and weak, which would make it very hard to attack back and win. A young male lion will fight back and, while he may be injured, he will not die.

However, when it comes to little cubs, hyenas can steal them from their mother and kill them. Same goes for when many hyenas attack a lion together, which is something that they often do in order to achieve a big scavenge.

 How Do Hyenas Kill Lions?

Hyena mothers usually give birth to twins, triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, sextuplets, or even octuplets. This means that they have to share their food supply. In order to survive, they have to cooperate.

So, if they decide to attack and kill bigger animals like lions, they will do it together as a group. Otherwise, they go for smaller animals or ones that are not as strong and fast as the king of the jungle.

But do they use their sharp claws to rip open their victims’ bellies?

No, because their claws are simply not sharp enough to kill animals like lions. Instead, they bite into their prey’s neck, and they pull out the throat and tear off chunks of flesh until it is dead.

The Bottom Line

In short, hyenas can easily hurt lions but they can’t so easily kill them. So, if you ever find yourself near a lioness with cub(s), you should keep your distance, because you never know if there’s a clan of hyenas around looking for their next kill.

Joe Edwards
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