Do Hyenas Eat Lions?

Hyenas and lions share similar territories and habitats, often crossing paths while out hunting. But do hyenas eat lions if they get the chance?

Hyenas do eat lions. The hyenas’ clan is mighty. Although hyenas rarely chase lions, if a lion is isolated, hyenas will attempt to kill and feed on it. Hyenas attack only feeble lionesses and young lions; they typically stay away from adult male lions.

Hyenas are one of the lion’s largest competitors. Size and strength are not necessarily the most crucial factor in the wild, and this article will cover the difficult relationship between lions and hyenas.

Hyena and Lion crossing paths

Do Hyenas Eat And Kill Lions?

Sometimes hyenas outnumber lions, so they can’t defend themselves alone. 

Hyenas circle around the large cat, striking and attacking it from the back when their attention is diverted to another injured lion. The ultimate objective is to attempt to knock the lion to the dirt and rip out its belly.

On average, ten hyenas are required to defeat one lioness. On the other hand, it takes around 20 mature hyenas to overcome a lion.

A hyena will also eat a lion cub. Lion cubs are dependent on their mother for the first year after birth. So if hyenas spot defenseless cubs, they will take the opportunity to strike.

When hyenas hunt cubs, they do it to eliminate competitors rather than as a food source.

Hyenas come in massive numbers to attack a pride of lions. A few hyenas steal babies, whereas the majority divert adult lions. When snatching a kill, similar strategies are used. 

Lion babies have a high death rate since they are preyed upon by predators like hyenas.

To reduce competition, both species kill each other’s cubs when the opportunity presents itself. It’s easier to defeat the opposition before they can learn to defend themselves.

Hyenas also feed on dead Lions. Hyenas are often scavenger hunters, consuming dead animals, including lions. 

Hyenas hunt around 75% of their prey but are also scavengers. Therefore, they catch the majority of their food on their own.

Occasionally, lions are killed when conflict occurs in the pride or between two groups. Hyenas gladly take the risk and feed on the lions’ remains.

Hyenas behind Lion

Do Lions Kill And Eat Hyenas?

Lions also eat hyenas; however, this is not a typical occurrence. 

To reduce the level of food competition, lions kill hyenas. Lions kill cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and other top predators, as they perceive them as dangerous to their territory and way of life. 

Understanding that lions do not hunt hyenas to devour them is crucial. 

Lions typically leave the hyenas to perish rather than consume the carcass.

Hunting Springbok or other prey is far simpler than taking down a hyena.

Lions are equally picky eaters when it comes to their diet.

A lion’s dislike of some meals has baffled researchers. Most scientists think this taste aversion is caused by the fact that carnivores are more likely to get parasites and illnesses from other carnivores.

As a result, it’s clear why lions kill hyenas for reasons other than food, such as to reduce conflict for territory and resources.

However, only the weak and elderly lions in the pride consume hyenas under intense stress or starvation.

Unbelievable! Young Lions, a Hyena Pup, & a Meerkat Become Best Friends | Smithsonian Channel

How Do Lions And Hyenas Survive Together?

Plenty of cartoons and movies have shown lions and hyenas as rivals, but that’s not entirely true. They compete with one another because they share the same habitat and pursue the same prey.

Less competition means a higher chance of surviving when it comes to living in the wild.

Hyenas and lions threaten each other’s existence, and consequently, they frequently fight each other when their paths meet.

So, as already said, lions and hyenas are not enemies; rather, they are just pursuing the principle of “survival of the fittest,” which is a significant part of the theory of evolution.

Cute Hyena Cubs and Lion Cubs Playing Together

Final Thoughts On Hyenas Vs Lions

Nature has ways of balancing out the ecosystem, and lions and hyenas play their part in this. While the two do not hunt each other intentionally, they will kill the other if the opportunity presents itself.

Hyenas will also eat dead lions if they come across them, either killed from other conflict or conflict between the two animals.

FAQs

Why Do Lions and Hyenas Fight Each Other?

Hyenas and lions are predators that prey on the same animals in the same area. As a result, a natural rivalry has developed among these species.

Do Hyenas Have More Strength Than Lions?

Hyenas are not stronger than lions, despite having one of the strongest bites among mammals. Lions are far more powerful than hyenas, on top of being twice as big and three times as heavy. A hyena has little chance against a lion one-on-one.

Are Hyenas Lion Hunters?

Typically, hyenas do not chase lions. Hyena packs can be deadly to exposed cubs and isolated lions; even then, they do not prefer hunting lions.