Q:

What are a lion's eating habits?

A:

Lions mainly feed on large ungulates such as wildebeest, buffaloes, zebras, warthogs and various species of antelope. Sometimes lions hunt hippopotamuses, young elephants and baboons. Lions often feed on carrion, driving other predators such as hyenas away from their prey. Occasionally, lions become man-eaters when they are injured or old or when other prey is unavailable.

Lions live in social groups called prides. When food is abundant, the entire pride eats together and sometimes allows hyenas to eat along with them. However, when food is limited, the male lions in the pride eat first. Afterwards, the lionesses eat, and finally the cubs are allowed a chance at the kill. Lions sometimes gorge themselves when they eat, with a full-grown lion eating over 60 pounds of meat at one time. If they become full before a kill is consumed, they rest for a few hours and then eat more. To survive, an adult lion needs 10 to 15 pounds of meat per day.

Lions usually hunt together in groups, although sometimes males hunt alone. Typically, male lions watch the young while lionesses hunt. The lionesses use stealth to circle their prey. Because they do not have much stamina, they creep up close before bursting from cover and overcoming it. Although they have sharp teeth, they usually kill their prey by strangulation.


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