Lions are famous for being the king of the jungle. Their fearsome stature and reputation place them near the top of the food chain. However, Lions have earned their reputation because they are indeed efficient hunters. Have you ever wondered how Lions hunt in the wild?
Lions vs Lioness
Just like most social mammals, Lions have roles that they assign in their packs. A pride of Lions typically consists of a group of female Lions – or Lioness – and a few younger cubs that are the descendant of the male Lion. The male Lions have the role of being the protector of the pride, fending off any potential dangers that may threaten the pride.
However, what most people are not familiar with is that Lionesses are in fact, the primary hunters in a Lion pack. Though female Lions may be physically smaller than the male Lions, they make up for it in speed. They are in fact up to 30% faster, reaching top speeds of up to 45mph. Additionally, Lionesses also hunt together in packs, effectively increasing their chances of capturing a prey successfully.
In general, there are two methods that Lions employ to hunt their prey. The first one is by stalking them. You’ve probably seen this behavior if you have a pet cat, or watched an animal documentary on television. This is the primary way that they hunt, which is to stay hidden for as long as possible while they approach their prey. This is another advantage that the Lioness has over the male, in that their bodies are slimmer, allowing them to stay hidden in the grass longer. Lionesses also work together when they hunt by surrounding their prey as they stay hidden. Eventually, though, the prey will notice or hear the approaching Lion, in which it will become a chase for them both. Once the Lion catch the prey, they will use their powerful claws to maul at their prey and crush their necks, leaving them paralyzed to be taken back to the Lion’s home.
The other way that Lions hunt is a little more straightforward. This is when the male Lion also joins the hunt together with the Lionesses. There is no hiding or stalking involved, they go for the big prey and then corner it strategically. Once the prey is cornered, the Lion comes in face to face to fight with the animal. In this scenario the weight, brute strength and bravery of the Lion is what will determine the outcome of the hunt.
What do you think of the Lion’s hunting methods? Did you know about the female Lions being the primary hunters? Learn more interesting facts by visiting the Lions yourself in Bali Safari Park!