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

Commonly known as the ‘King of the Jungle’ or the ‘King of Beast’, lions are some of the most well-known and highly mythologized creatures.

Do Lions Eat Rhinos

These mighty cats are known for incredible power and patient hunting skills. 

Many people may think that there isn’t much a lion won’t eat, and they would be right.

These animals are opportunistic scavengers and will often steal food from vultures, hyenas and wild dogs whenever they can.

However, just because they will eat almost any animal, doesn’t mean that they can hunt them. 

Do you think a lion could take on a rhino and win? Lions are formidable hunters, but a fully grown rhino is also a mighty beast in its own right.

If you want to know the answer to if a lion is capable of hunting and killing a rhinoceros, then read on.

Lion Vs Rhino

Before we get into whether a lion is capable of hunting a fully grown rhinoceros, we thought it would be best to provide a comparison between the two different species.

This will give a better idea of how fair a fight between the two animals would be. 

Weight And Dimensions

The African white rhinoceros is the world’s second-largest land mammal.

They can stand anywhere between 5 and 6 feet tall and often have a total body length of 11 to 13 ft depending on their age and sex.

In terms of weight, white rhinos can easily be anywhere between 3,000 and 7,000 lbs.

In comparison, most African lions will grow to be between 9 and 10ft  long from head to tail.

It is important to note that some specimens may have a tail as long as 3 ft, and that the female members of the species will be slightly smaller and more slender than their male counterparts.

In height, most lions will only reach 3.5 to 4 ft tall. 

On average, a fully grown lion can weigh anywhere between 330 and 55 lbs.

As you can see from these statistics, white rhinos are considerably larger and heavier than African lions. 

Other Features 

As we all know, white rhinos possess large ivory horns that protrude from the front of their head.

There are two horns, with a large one at the front and a smaller one located just behind.

The front horn can reach up to 79 inches in length, while the back one is often significantly shorter, resting at around 22 in.

Their skin can also be 2 inches thick, which makes it tough for many predators to successfully penetrate with their claws and teeth. 

Lions on the other hand hunt their prey by stalking. Once they are close enough, they will charge their prey and attempt to pounce on it.

They possess awesome power to weight and agility that allows them to kill animals that are much bigger than themselves. 

A lion will generally kill its prey by attempting to break its neck. They may also try to suffocate animals by wrapping their paws around the throat. 

Do Lions Eat Rhino?

Do Lions Eat Rhinos

Lions get most of their food by hunting, but will happily scavenge when the opportunity arises.

If a lion finds the carcass of a recently killed rhino, it is likely to chase off any other predators feeding on it and start tucking in. 

So yes, when presented with the opportunity, a lion will happily eat the meat of a rhino.

However, that still leaves the question whether these big cats are capable of hunting and killing a white rhinoceros by themselves. 

Do Lions Hunt Rhinos?

Typically, lions will choose to hunt smaller prey that is easier for them to catch and kill.

A desperate pride may attempt to take on a larger animal together, but only if they absolutely have to. 

Most lions will think twice before attempting to hunt or kill a rhino.

Their thick skin and considerable size, makes it difficult for the cats to get a grip on their prey and deliver the killing blow.

Not to mention the fact that a fully grown white rhino can easily kill even a large lion if it gets the chance. 

While rhinos will flee before attempting to fight a lion head on, if forced to do so their large horn becomes a powerful weapon.

A single blow from a rhinoceros’ horn can instantly kill a fully grown lion or lioness, hence why these big cats are wary of hunting such mighty prey. 

However, just because a lion is unlikely to take on a rhino doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.

There is video evidence of a male lion taking on a rhino by itself and winning the fight, however, this is likely because the rhino was very old or sick. 

There is more footage of groups of lions taking on a rhino together, which is far more likely than one taking on such a mighty target by themselves.

However, while there are records of lions successfully hunting and killing rhinos, they are not in the majority, and there are just as many cases of the opposite occurring.

Desperate lions that have not eaten for a long time, may definitely attempt to kill a rhino, but if they end up on the wrong side of their prey’s horn, then they are unlikely to survive.

As such, lions will generally stick to other, weaker prey if it is available. 


There is no doubt that lions are formidable hunters. With retractable claws, sharp teeth and an impressive power to weight ratio, these big cats are capable of taking on a fully grown rhino.

However, this is always a risk, and even if multiple lions join the hunt,  they are still not guaranteed to win.

Being the second-largest land mammal on the planet, the African white rhino is not to be underestimated.

Their thick skin makes it difficult for predators to deal an effective killing blow, and all it takes is one blow from their horns to deal with most predators. 

We hope that after reading this article, you now know more about these two incredible species.

Joe Edwards