Lions are the apex predators and the only ones among the big cats that live in groups (prides), so their chances of catching their prey increase and get better as they work together as a team. They seem almost unstoppable and eat any animal below them on the food chain. But is this the same case with vultures? Let’s see.
Do Lions Eat Vultures?
Although vultures are magnificent creatures, they are primarily misunderstood because they feed almost exclusively on carrion. So, some people even feel disgusted about them. However, as a part of the food chain, every animal serves its purpose and balances the ecology.
Nature has assigned a role to every creature on this planet. In this case, vultures’ eating habits are also helpful as they rid the environment of decomposing carcasses. But unfortunately, their numbers have been decreasing in recent years.
Mostly, lions do not eat vultures; however, vultures do have some natural predators, especially at the fledgling stage. They often became victims to golden eagles, bald eagles, horned owls, and red-tailed hawks.
When lions die (out of old age, illness, or killed by other predators), then vultures may eat their carcass as it’s part of their food and duty. Vultures eat everything and anything under the sun that is dead.
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Lion Vs Vulture
Even though a lion may not eat a vulture, there are some occasions when the lion may try to attack the vulture, like when the latter is trying to steal the kill.
After spending some time and energy over the prey, no predator will likely share the food with another. So, when vultures try to steal the kill as they are scavengers, lions may attack them to kill or shoo them away.
Lions are always careful with their food. When there is a pride of lions, some try to keep away the other predators or scavengers who compete for food, while others concentrate on hunting.
What Animals Eat Vultures?
Spared by lions doesn’t mean vultures do not have any predators. Though lions are called beasts among predators, there are still many predators, and they always entail certain dangers to their prey when they are around.
In fact, humans are the main predators of many animals, including vultures. They are poached for their body parts. Some other natural predators of vultures are jackals, hawks, and even snakes, but these usually prey on baby birds rather than adult vultures.
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Though vultures share similar prey with Jackals (fellow scavengers), they cannot tear through the hide of carcasses. So, they will wait for the jackals to arrive first and open the carcass up for them to make it easier for them later.
When there is enough food to go around, it is a common sight to see jackals and vultures eating together and minding their own business. But when there isn’t enough food, jackals are likely to attack, so vultures are always careful about it.
They are very protective of their nests cause if they are unguarded for any reason, it will be easy for many predators like hawks to pick off a defenseless vulture chick.
As vultures are birds, they often build their nests far away from the ground, in places like trees or on cliffs, to avoid their nests being attacked by any probable predators. But surprisingly, snakes are agile climbers and can climb pointy branches and jagged rocks to eat vulnerable chicks.
Some snakes even exclusively prey upon birds’ eggs when their parent birds leave the nest briefly while hunting for food. Also, raccoons and possums may hunt the baby vultures too.
Here is a video of a lion attacking a vulture.
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