As lions are one of the most powerful predators in the wild, most of us assume they spend all day hunting. However, that’s not true, they do it only when they are hungry and in need of food. Do they eat the kills of another animal or prey that is found dead already? Let us find out the answer now.
Do Lions Eat Dead Animals?
There is a misconception among many people around the world that lion doesn’t eat carcass (dead animals), but that is not the truth.
Lions (both lions and lionesses) do eat dead meat when they are desperately hungry to the extent that they chase the hyenas, the animals that are known to prey on dead and decaying animals. Lions scare the hyenas away and take the course for the dead prey to eat when they become very hungry.
Lions are regarded as the king of the jungle, definitely for a reason. Due to this, they are as fearless as anything, as they are capable of attacking any animal that comes their way with no fear or panic. But at the same time, they eat dead meat when they can’t find animals to kill, and they are hungry to the core.
Do Lions Steal Food From Other Animals?
Lions are like the “sharks of the oceans”; they will eat any animal carcass they find on their way (if it is in good condition).
They will also steal the kills of other predators like hyenas or cheetahs. They steal food from other predators as it’s an easy source instead of hunting. They just want food no matter what and are really opportunistic about it.
Lions impose a monopoly over all the food they can find; it doesn’t have to be their own.
Also Read: Do Lions Eat Their Prey Alive?
Lions will drive off smaller or solo predators from their kills to steal them later. So, it is proven many times that they are not something that will eat only their own kill.
Do Lions Eat Carcasses?
As lions are obligatory carnivores, they need meat for their survival. So, if they cannot locate prey to hunt and kill, then they will consume whatever comes their way in order to survive when times become desperate.
Lions are seen eating dead elephants, hippos, and rhinos that die of natural causes and even from fights. They will eat any kind of meat they find edible. And when saying edible, edible by their standards (Sometimes it can be meat left a week in the heat of summer).
Lions, if they come upon an animal that died recently, then they will eat it. They would eat meat that humans would find far too revolting to approach. The threshold for being rotten to a lion is very different from the threshold for being rotten to a human.
Vultures will eat meat that not even lions would approach. Thus, each species has its own threshold.
Are Lions Picky Eaters?
We can also say that lions are generalist hypercarnivores. They are hypercarnivores because meat will be more than 70% of their diet, and they are generalists because they are different from most other carnivores.
Lions are able and willing to adapt their diets to their environment. This behavior makes lions a generalist species. To put it simply, lions just want meat and aren’t that picky while choosing their prey to hunt or scavenge – They hunt whatever is available, unlike specialist species.
Captive lions are fed meat that has been killed by humans, and the lions don’t even know where or how it was killed, yet they eat it. Considering the fact that so many wild lions die from eating poison-laden animals, we can say that they are not picky eaters.
Here is a video of lions eating a dead hippo they found in a river.