A lion is a large mammal that is a member of the feline family. It is the second largest big cat second only to the tiger. It is often described as a large cat with a mane. Lions live in the savannahs and grasslands of Africa and India.
What Do Lions Eat In The Wild?
The lion is carnivorous and lives on a variety of prey. They mostly prey on large mammals but their choice of food often depends on availability. The African lion will prey on mammals such as wildebeest, warthogs, zebras, buffalo and various types of antelope. They may also hunt and eat young rhinos, hippos or elephants but this is rare as these animals are seen to pose a threat to the safety of the lion. The Indian lion mainly prey on various species of deer and wild boar. Lions will also eat small rodents and birds or scavenge for food when there is little choice available. A male lion will consume up to 15 ½ pounds of meat in a day and a female lion or lioness will eat up to 11 pounds. As the food supply can often be erratic lions will eat more or less based on the likelihood of the next meal.
How Do Lions Hunt And Kill Their Prey?
Lions live in family groups called prides which consist of a number of related lionesses, cubs and a couple of male lions. Within this group it is the lionesses who hunt for the pride. Lions are usually nocturnal hunters but will hunt during the day especially if food is limited. Lionesses will hunt cooperatively circling likely prey to prevent escape. A male lion that is not part of a pride will do his own hunting. As the lion is not very fast it relies on its ability to stalk its prey silently. The lioness will stalk the prey until she is close enough to make a quick dash to secure it. The lioness then uses her powerful jaws to clamp down on the animals wind-pipe or muzzle to suffocate it.
What Do Lions Eat In Captivity?
When a lion is kept in captivity the zoo or wildlife preserve aims to feed the animal as close to a normal diet as possible. Lions need a diet that is high in proteins and fats as in the wild they eat mostly large mammals. Some animal care companies have created specialized lion food that comes in casing like sausages and contains all the nutrients the lions require. Other types of foods consumed by lions in captivity include large, raw chunks of beef or horse meat.