Lions and tigers are among the world’s most ferocious animals, earning their respective places at the very top of the food chain.
Along with the leopard, snow leopard, and jaguar, they are two of the five living members of the genus Panthera, also known as the five big cats.
Lions and tigers are apex predators, meaning that very rarely will another animal attempt to attack them.
Despite their similarities, lions and tigers are very different creatures. Do they get along?
Would a lion ever eat a tiger, if given the opportunity? What would happen if a lion and a tiger got into a fight?
In this article, we will be answering the titular question: ‘Do lions eat tigers?’ The answer may surprise you. So, let’s get into it.
Do Lions And Tigers Cross Paths In The Wild?
When considering the two most majestic giant cats in the jungle, it’s natural to presume that they share a lot of similarities and live close to one another.
Although they share some characteristics, these animals do not actually live in proximity to one another. At least, not anymore.
Lions and tigers used to coexist in the Eurasian region a very long time ago.
Asiatic lions and Bengal tigers, in particular, were two species that shared and battled for territory in the wild.
They would compete for their meals, and it is believed that they may not have gotten along, frequently clashing.
In recent years, it is highly unlikely that a lion and a tiger would ever cross paths in the wilderness.
Because lions are mainly found in Africa, and tigers primarily reside in Asia, continents separate them totally.
Only when these two species are kept in captivity do they typically come into contact.
Where Do Lions Originate From?
Lions once roamed much of Europe, Africa, and Asia, but in the latest generations, they have vanished from roughly 94 percent of their native habitat.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), lions are currently threatened with extinction.
There are approximately 650 Asiatic lions and less than 25,000 African lions surviving in the world.
African lions are known to live in West and Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. Asiatic lions can be found in Gujarat, India’s Gir Forest National Park.
Over the last several years, the most dramatic declines in lion numbers have happened in West and Central Africa.
Savannahs, grasslands, dense undergrowth, and open woods are ideal habitats for lions because they can easily pursue their prey in these settings.
They can thrive in any area that affords enough protection for foraging, with exception to tropical rainforests and deserts.
Where Do Tigers Originate From?
The tiger bloodline is believed to have originated in Northwestern China, and they later moved across several parts of Asia.
Today, they mainly reside in the following 13 countries:
Tigers live in a wide range of environments, including rain forests, grasslands, jungles, and sometimes even swamps.
Unfortunately, due to increased human influence, 93 percent of native tiger territories have vanished. Tigers are now classified as endangered.
There are approximately 3,900 of these magnificent beasts left, and three tiger subspecies have already gone extinct.
Do Lions Eat Tigers?
As we previously mentioned, lions and tigers do not naturally coexist.
Due to their native habitats being so far apart, the overall chances of their ever meeting in the wild are extremely slim.
But, for argument’s sake, let’s say that lions and tigers lived in proximity of each other: would lions hunt tigers, and/or vice versa?
To begin with, both species are apex predators. This means they are at the top of the food chain, and are rarely hunted or fought for food by other animals.
There have been cases in which cubs get taken and are devoured by other predators, but it never happens once the cats have reached full maturity.
Although some predators have been known to attack these enormous cats, such as hyenas or wild dogs, no animals will typically choose to eat a fully grown tiger or lion unless they are starving.
Lions and tigers may attack each other for the same reasons, but they would not attempt to devour the carcass of their victim following the kill.
So, no: a lion would not eat a tiger, even if their paths crossed in the wild.
Can Lions And Tigers Get Along?
Both animals are fiercely protective of their territory.
They’re also competitive, and since lions and tigers are at the top of the food chain, they’d probably consider each other as a threat if they ever met in the wild.
Another reason that these cats may not get along in the wild is because lions are social creatures, whereas tigers prefer to live in solitude.
Their personalities will clash naturally. When kept in captivity, however, lions and tigers have shown a remarkable ability to form bonds with one another.
The discrepancy here could be explained by the fact that these animals will have grown up together in captivity, rather than meeting separately in the wild and, most likely, viewing each other as threats.
When different animals meet as cubs rather than fully grown adults, it is much easier for them to get along since they’ve never known anything different.
What Do Lions Hunt?
Lions, on the whole, will hunt for the most conveniently accessible creatures they come across while travelling across their homelands.
Larger animals including zebras, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and rhinos, as well as lesser animals like antelopes and warthogs, are included.
Lions will occasionally even feast upon reptiles, such as crocodiles and lizards.
What Hunts For Tigers?
Since they are apex predators, no other animal will attempt to consume a fully matured tiger.
Some predators, such as leopards and hyenas, may prey on tiger cubs, but this is no longer a threat once the tiger has fully grown.
So, to answer the initial question: no, lions do not eat tigers.
There are several reasons why a lion would not choose to devour a tiger, but the most obvious is that they would never meet unless they were kept in captivity.
Even if they did meet outside a zoo or an enclosure, they would almost certainly avoid each other!
We hope you found this article interesting and helpful.