Are Lions Dangerous & Aggressive? (Attack or Eat Humans)

In this article, we’ll answer the question:

“Are lions dangerous?”

First, you’ll find a short summary about the dangerousness of lions in general, then get specific answers about these mammals like are lions aggressive, will they bite, do lions eat humans, etc.

Lions are a large cat of the genus Panthera in the family Felidae under the suborder Feliformia of the order Carnivora. Lions are native to Africa and India and are at the top of the food chain as an apex and keystone predator.

Are lions dangerous

Are Lions Dangerous?

Lions are one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Lions are ferocious predators that can easily kill humans and large mammals for food are very dangerous when protecting their territory and cubs from other predators.

Lions hunt in groups to take down large prey, kill it, and eat it. And the strength and speed of these big cats are no match for a human being. However, being attacked by a lion in the wild is not a common occurrence. According to Statista, lions account for about 22 human deaths per year.

Most all wild lions live in Africa, below the Sahara Desert, but one small population exists around Gir Forest National Park in western India. But zoos all over the world have lions in captivity for adults and children to see.

According to PETA and Big Cat Rescue’s lists, there have only been approximately 260 exotic cat attacks that resulted in injuries that were severe or fatal from 1990 to 2014. Of this number, 89 occurred in zoos.

Are Lions Aggressive?

Lions are an aggressive species that can easily kill humans and other animals larger than themselves. Male lions becomes even more aggressive during mating season and female lions are extremely protective of their cubs.

Lions hunt either alone or in groups called prides. The average pride consists of around 15 lions, including a dozen adult females, up to three males, and cubs of both sexes. Lions are not naturally aggressive towards humans in nature unless provoked, protecting their young, or food is scarce. Both female and male lions tend to avoid conflict with humans; however, aggressive attacks have been reported in zoos across the world where human interaction is most common.

Do Lions Bite?

Lions do bite and have a measured biting force of upwards of 650 pounds/square inch (psi). Lions use their teeth to subdue prey and to rip the flesh off the bone to eat. A lion’s bite can be fatal for humans and animals much larger than it.

If you find yourself close to a lion, it is essential to remain calm and avoid any sudden actions that could startle the animal. If a lion does decide to attack, fighting back is usually not the best option because it will bite you with more force. Instead, try to focus on protecting your vital organs and wait for the lion to lose interest.

Do Lions Attack Humans?

Lions do attack humans and will hunt people if food is scarce, the animal feels threatened, or the lion is protecting its cubs. However, humans are not the typical prey lions pursue in the wild because their territories do not overlap.

There have been occasions when lions have attacked humans on a wild rampage. According to a Nature journal article, “Between March and December 1898, a pair of male lions killed and devoured 28–135 people in the Tsavo region of Kenya.” But these attacks were not the fault of the people.

Lions normally hunt grazing animals such as zebra and wildebeest, but in 1898, drought, pestilence and hunting left the Tsavo region of Kenya barren of the lion’s most common prey. This famine caused the lions to seek out human beings for nourishment. And the big cats dragged humans from tents at night.

This act of nightly attacks against people lasted for about nine months until the lions were finally killed in December.

Do Lions Eat Humans?

Lions do eat humans and there is documented evidence of lions eating humans in nature and in captivity. However, lions do not typically prey on humans unless food is scarce in the environment, the lion feels threatened, or the cat is protecting its young cubs.

Are Lions Friendly?

You can visit our other guide about are lions friendly to find out how nice these mammals can be to people in the wild and at a zoo.

Are lions aggressive

Lion Dangerous & Aggressive Summary

You now know the answer to the question about are lions dangerous.

As you discovered in this guide, lions do not eat humans or attack people unless they feel threatened. Therefore, are lions aggressive or not depends on if these mammals are being encroached upon by people in nature or in captivity.