Lions are large cats and one of the most famous animals in Africa. They have a reputation for being fierce predators but they are also known to be very sociable animals.
However, they are also known for being carnivores that hunt and kill other animals for food.
They have been known to attack, kill, and even eat from wildebeests and zebras to hares, rabbits, monkeys, and snakes.
Lions live in groups called prides where there is usually an alpha male who rules over his pride with his wife and cubs. The rest of the lions follow him around and protect their territory.
So what will happen if a hyena comes into their territory? Do they go after them and try to kill them and eat them as prey?
Well, contrary to what most people think, lions are not big fans of hyenas when it comes to their dietary preferences. But before we get into that, let’s look at some facts!
What Lions And Hyenas Eat In The Wild
In the wild, lions eat everything from antelope to zebra. They don’t just eat meat; they also consume grasses, fruits, vegetables, and insects. The same goes for hyenas. In fact, some researchers believe that hyena are actually more omnivorous than lions.
Lions and hyenas have been known to hunt together. When this happens, it is usually because one of them has spotted a prey animal and wants to share its kill with another lion or hyena. Sometimes, lions will even let other carnivores feed on their kills.
Hyenas are often seen scavenging around dead animals. But unlike lions, hyenas do not normally eat the flesh of dead animals. Instead, they use their sharp teeth to rip open the stomachs of dead animals. Then, they eat whatever is inside.
How Does A Lion Hunt?
Lions hunt using stealth and speed. They stalk their prey before pouncing on it. To catch their prey, they use their long legs and powerful jaws. Their claws help them grip onto their prey.
A lion can also track its prey through scent. When a lion smells something that it wants to eat, it follows the trail until it reaches its destination. Then, it waits for the animal to come close before attacking.
Why Do Lions And Hyenas Fight?
Lions and hyenas are known to be great, natural enemies.They are competitors for resources and have been known to compete over carcasses. Yet, the answer to why they fight is complicated, but one thing is clear: it’s not because they’re both carnivores.
There are many factors at play, including food availability, territory size, and social rank, and we could say that the two main reasons are that:
- Lions are territorial. If you live near a pack of lions, you might get chased away by them. This can happen when they see you as a threat.
- Hyenas are opportunistic hunters. They aren’t always looking for food. They will sometimes steal food from other predators like lions. And they’ll even take food from humans!
Do Lions Kill Hyenas?
Yes! Lions kill hyenas by biting them, often killing them instantly. Hyenas are very aggressive towards lions.
They chase them off their kills and try to drive them out of their territories, which is why lions kill them. It is all about their safety and protection of their territory rather than a desire to eat them.
When lions attack hyenas, they bite them. This causes severe damage to the hyena’s skin and internal organs. Some hyenas die quickly after being bitten, while others survive long enough to run away.
If a hyena survives an attack, it may try to hide from lions. However, if it doesn’t find shelter soon, it will starve to death.
So the reason why lions kill hyenas is because they need to protect themselves. They need to keep their territory safe so that they can hunt and eat what they want. So, if a hyena comes into their territory, they will attack it and they will kill it.
Do Lions Eat Hyenas?
In most cases no, lions don’t eat hyenas. Like we said, the reason why a lion would kill a hyena would be either in defence when attacked by hyenas or in order to protect its territory and secure its prey from being taken by a hyena.
However, there are exceptions. For example, if a hyena attacks a lion, then the lion may kill it and, if it has stolen a lion’s kill, then the lion may end up eating it. Another case would be that of an old lion that is weaker and finds hyenas as an easy prey.
Why Don’t Lions Eat Hyenas?
The lion doesn’t eat hyenas because they don’t fit into its ecological niche. It has evolved to hunt antelopes, zebras, wildebeests, gazelles, etc., which it eats alone.
A hyena, on the other hand, needs to hunt in packs, so it cannot survive without hunting alongside other carnivores.
Hyenas are also not 100% carnivores as they eat plants and insects too. A hyena’s diet consists mainly of insects, small rodents, and birds.
This means they don’t perfectly fit into the lion’s food chain like other animals do. As a result, lions will attack them if they come near but they will not chase after them as prey.
Hyenas also have sharp claws and teeth that make them dangerous to lions. Lions are naturally more powerful than hyenas, so they are able to overpower and kill them.
But this does not mean that they enjoy doing so. In fact, they feel threatened by them and they do everything possible to avoid them.
The Bottom Line
So if you are out on a safari and see a dead hyena, you should know that the suspect was, most probably, not a lion!