In this guide, we’ll answer the question:
“What eats lions?”
First, you’ll find a short summary of what animals eat lions in the wild and then get a detailed list of lion predators.
Lions are a large cat of the genus Panthera and native to Africa and India and are at the top of the food chain as an apex and keystone predator. A lion is a generalist and hypercarnivore which has a diet of more than 70% meat and a typical lifespan of 10-15 years.
What Eats Lions?
Animals that eat lions include cheetahs, hyenas, scavengers, wild dogs, and other lions. Adult lions do not have many natural predators unless it is sick or weak but lion cubs are easy prey to eat. Some species will also compete with lions for food and try to steal their kills.
A cheetah is no match for killing and eating a lion so it’s not one of the main lion predators.
However, cheetahs may attack lion cubs or a noticeably weak or sick adult lion when the opportunity strikes.
Cheetahs use their speed and nimbleness to take down faster, smaller, and weaker animals, which are much easier to kill than fierce lions.
A hyena lives in a group called a clan, and while they’re aggressive against other animals, lions are not natural prey for hyenas.
Typically, hyenas will try to steal a lion’s kill rather than attack and eat lions themselves.
But because hyenas are smart pack predators, they will seize the opportunity to kill and eat lion cubs as well as old and weak lions.
A scavenger like a vulture will eat lions that are killed by other predators or have died from natural causes in the wild.
Because scavengers are not capable of killing a lion by themselves, they must eat the leftover meat and carcass from dead organisms.
Wild dogs in Africa travel in packs and can easily take down a large wildebeest. But despite this animal’s prowess, wild dogs won’t attack an adult lion or lioness.
Even a small 300-pound female lion can easily kill a wild dog, even if it is with other canine predators in the pack.
Wild dogs typically only hunt lion cubs that have strayed from the mother or a weak lion that’s been injured.
A lion typically doesn’t eat another lion except under rare circumstances, such as a desperate need for food, territorial rivalry, or to remove lion cubs by a previous male from a newly acquired pride of lions.
In those instances, a lion will often just kill the other lion but not eat it.
Male lions are also known to get aggressive with females who refuse to mate and will kill the lioness; however, the male lion will not eat her.
What Do Lions Eat?
Lions are also predators that must prey on other animals to survive.
You can visit our other guide on what do lions eat to find out more about what these mammals feed on for nutrition.
Animals That Eat Lions Summary
You now know what eats lions in the wild and which species are the top lion predators.
As you discovered in this guide, there are about 5 animals that eat lions in nature when the perfect opportunity strikes.
I’m the lead editor and writer for Animal Answer Guide. I enjoy sharing expert knowledge on the various characteristics of common species within the five distinct groups of animals: amphibians, birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.