What Do Lions Eat?

Opportunistic Feeders

©Peter Delaney
Lions are opportunistic feeders eating mostly medium to large antelope but including anything from a mouse to an elephant. They will follow other predators or vultures to kill sites to steal food including putrid meat and they ambush animals by lying in wait at isolated waterholes. They may dig warthogs out of their burrows or pick off antelope lying up in the grass. They rid populations of their sick and weak members. They hunt predominantly under the cover of darkness but will hunt during the day if opportunity presents itself. Lions gorge themselves when they feed leaving them almost immovable but food passes through their guts quickly to allow for a second meal soon after.

Lions are super-predators and dominate the bushveld predator hierarchy. They will steal food wherever they can from other predators and mutually kill each others cubs. They may even kill smaller carnivores as food. Their only real competition is hyena but only if these exist in significantly greater numbers and even a clan of hyenas don’t stand too much chance against a pride if males are present. Elephants chase and even kill lions to protect their young as will herds of buffalo. The kills that lions make are attended by hyena, jackal and vultures who will attempt to scavenge the leftovers.

By Megan Emmett