Lions are truly amazing, majestic creatures, but they can also be absolutely terrifying.
Given this, it’s no mystery that so many people are interested in learning more about lions, and what they consume to survive.
Anyone who ever watched the Madagascar movies as a kid will remember the bromance that existed between two of the main characters, Marty the zebra and Alex the lion.
These characters also had close relationships with other animals, including giraffes, hippopotamuses, and even penguins.
However, of course, this animated movie franchise was exactly that: an animated movie franchise.
It was touched upon in the movies that Alex, the lion, wanted to eat Marty, the zebra.
But, in real life, would these creatures ever have struck up a friendship in the first place? How do lions and zebras really feel about each other?
In this article, we will be answering the questions on every reader’s mind: do lions eat zebras? What is their relationship in the wild? Do lions specifically target zebras?
Well, let’s find out.
Sharing A Home In The Savannah
A savannah – sometimes written savanna – is a type of tropical vegetation that thrives in hot, seasonally dry climates and is defined by an open tree canopy above an uninterrupted tall grass forest floor.
It holds similar features to a grassland, but with several scattered trees.
The African savannah in particular is home to many huge herbivores, including antelopes, giraffes, rhinoceroses, elephants, and, of course, lions and zebras.
Where Do Lions Originate From?
Once upon a time, lions spanned much of Europe, Africa, and Asia, but they have disappeared from around 94% of their historical range in recent decades.
Unfortunately, lions are now threatened by extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
There are roughly 650 Asiatic lions left in the world, and less than 25,000 African lions.
West and Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa are known to be home to African lions.
Asiatic lions, on the other hand, can be found in the Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat, India.
The most drastic losses in lion populations have occurred in West and Central Africa throughout the past few generations.
Lions prefer settings that allows them to hunt their prey readily, such as savannahs, grasslands, dense brush, and open forests.
With the exception of tropical rainforests and deserts, they may survive in any habitat that provides enough security for scavenging.
Where Do Zebras Originate From?
Zebras have been spotted in a number of African countries.
The plains zebra can be found in a number of eastern and southern countries, whereas the mountain zebra can be found in southern Africa, and the Grevy’s zebra in eastern Africa.
Sadly, many species of zebras are also threatened by extinction, with many being listed as vulnerable.
Despite zebras being fairly versatile animals in terms of habitat, the majority of them tend to primarily reside in savannahs and grasslands.
Zebras are herbivores, and tend to feed from many types of grass, which are easily accessible to them in these specific habitats.
However, due to residing in these areas, zebras are often at risk of becoming the prey of larger mammals.
Do Lions Eat Zebras?
Returning to the titular question of this article, it may be obvious from the previous statements made that, yes, lions do prey on zebras.
Since lions and zebras both live in grassy, warm regions including savannahs and grasslands, they frequently interact with one another.
With lions being the larger, more predatory creatures of the two, they will often hunt zebras for their meal, alongside other animals that reside in these regions.
Natural Enemies: Lions Vs. Zebras
Lions will prey on many types of animals, and zebras will get preyed on by many types of animals.
However, African lions are one of the main predators of zebras, and some of the largest threats.
A pride of lions will cooperate together to track and kill prey, and even a healthy adult zebra can be taken down by working together.
While lions prefer to prey in packs, a single lion can easily slaughter a juvenile zebra, or one that is wounded or sick.
A Zebra’s Defense: Can They Defend Themselves?
You may be reading this article and feeling bad for the poor zebras, being innocently preyed upon by large predators.
However, it is important to keep in mind that, despite their smaller statures and herbivore nature, zebras are more than capable of defending themselves against larger, more powerful creatures.
In fact, most zebras are actually taller than lions, giving them an advantage when it comes to running away and escaping their attack.
Zebras are also known to have a particularly powerful kick, which can wound and disarm unsuspecting opponents during their operations.
So, although zebras can defend themselves with their strong hooves and quick blows, they are still commonly preyed upon by prides of lions, as well as a number of other predators, who have gained an appreciation for zebra flesh.
What Else do Lions Eat?
Alongside zebras, lions will hunt for the most easily accessible mammals that they come across on their travels.
This includes larger creatures such as giraffes, hippopotamuses, and rhinos, and smaller animals such as antelopes and warthogs.
In rare cases, lions will even prey on reptiles, including crocodiles and lizards.
Who Else Hunts For Zebras?
While lions are the main predator of a zebra, there are other carnivores that will try to take down an easily accessible zebra if they are searching for their next meal.
Examples include hyenas, cheetahs, and leopards.
One of the most dangerous predators to a zebra, however, is the human being.
Unlike wild animals that hunt mainly to feed themselves, we are one of the few species that hunt for clothing, collectable items, or simply for fun.
Humans have hunted and poached zebras extensively over the years, which is one of the main reasons they are endangered.
Lions are one of the main threats to a zebra, especially due to the fact that they often live very close to each other.
However, zebras are more than capable of defending themselves in certain situations: unless they are overpowered by a pride, or are sick, these creatures have a decent chance of surviving a hunt.
We hope you found this informational piece useful and interesting.