Do lions eat other lions?

In this brief article we will answer the question “do lions eat other lions?”.  We will also discuss if a mother lioness would eat her cubs.

Do lions eat other lions?

Yes, lions can eat other lions. In most cases, lions won’t go out of their way to hunt and eat another lion. Unless they are completely out of food, they will avoid eating the meat of other predators. Lions don’t eat other lions because the energy they provide isn’t comparable to that of other large mammals.

While lions occasionally kill and eat other cats like cheetahs and leopards, this is an extremely unusual occurrence for any carnivore. In fact, lions are widely believed to take the opportunity to kill rival predators whenever they have the chance.

We already established that they wouldn’t eat cats unless they were in a dire famine situation. The competitive nature of the animal kingdom inevitably leads to the elimination of non-dominant species, including cats. To add insult to injury, it’s not for consumption.

Will a lion mother eat her cubs?

In the wild, a mother lioness will do anything to keep her cubs safe. However, lionesses have been known to kill their cubs on occasion. There are a few reasons why mother lionesses kill their cubs, though it is not common practice. 

Cubs can act very peculiarly at times. That is, they aren’t responding to their mother in the typical way. Alternately, they are experiencing physical difficulties. If the lioness didn’t recognize them as her cubs, she wouldn’t feel protective over them.

Furthermore, if there is a scarcity of food and the lioness has to choose between herself and her cubs, she will typically choose to cut the infants in order to increase her own chances of survival. In order to cover her tracks and avoid drawing unwanted attention from other predators, a mother may decide to eat her young.

Do lions ever eat cubs from other lions?

One lion from a pride may occasionally challenge another lion from a different pride to a fight. In the event of a successful challenge, the victor takes over as pride leader. In most cases, a new alpha male will “claim” their land by killing and, in some cases, even eating the cubs that belong to the previous alpha. 

The adults are concerned that the cubs will not inherit their genes from other lions because they are not related to them. Moreover, women are not sexually active until they have finished nursing their young. The new alpha shows his dominance by eliminating the cubs.

It’s not always the case, though. It was not uncommon for mother lions to persuade unfamiliar males not to prey on their cubs. With the new alpha’s blessing, she can rest assured that he will look out for and care for her young.

What do lions typically consume for food?

The wild lion’s diet is almost entirely meat. Therefore, big cats would base over two-thirds of their diet on meat. Given their ability to consume such a diverse array of prey, keystone and apex species status is well-deserved by the apex predators of the jungle.

Lions in the wild typically go for mammals that weigh between 400 and 1200 pounds. Among them are giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, gemsboks, and African buffalo. Lions usually stay away from adult mammals like elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippos. But if the pride of lions is starving, they will also try to hunt down these massive mammals.

Female lions do the bulk of the hunting and kill the majority of the prey. Lioness prides often worked together when hunting. They’d swarm in from all sides to attack the herd simultaneously. As they are not particularly strong, they typically close the distance between themselves and their prey.

Therefore, they only go on brief hunting excursions. They can cause fatal injuries by leaping onto an animal’s back and biting its neck. However, male lions have a reputation for stealing prey from other predators. Every chance they get, they chow down on dead animals.

Hyenas get a significant portion of their nutrition from eating carrion, the majority of which consists of animals that the hyenas have killed. In the pride of lions, the males will eat before the females. Once the big kills are secured, however, the pride members will divide up the meat.


In this brief article we have answered the question “do lions eat other lions?”.  We have also discussed if a mother lioness would eat her cubs.


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