Lions are the kings of the jungle, and they can eat every animal they can get. This made the apex predators a threat to every other animal around them. But do lions eat warthogs?
It may not be a great question, but people have started to search for it on the internet since Disney’s movie “The Lion King” has shown a warthog (Pumba) raising a lion cub (Simba). Some people would ruin the movie by arguing Simba should have eaten Pumba. Let’s find out if Simba really would have eaten one of his closest friends in real life.
Do Lions Eat Warthogs?
A lion’s diet is pretty varied, like a king’s, which is why they are also known as the ‘kings of the jungle’ and are one of the biggest carnivores in Africa.
Lions can hunt down different kinds of prey, which means that warthogs sometimes end up on a lion’s menu whenever it gets a chance. Lions are simple creatures, and they will eat any type of meat as long as it is fresh without any complaints. So lions would happily tuck into a warthog if they could hunt one down.
However, lions don’t often aim for warthogs when they go hunt for mainly two reasons.
- Firstly, warthogs are fearless in fighting back. One of the characteristics of lions is that they don’t prefer to hunt animals that fight back. This is the reason animals like large elephants or hippopotamuses are not their preferred prey. Even the giants, the giraffes, have powerful kicks.
Lions are intelligent and always prefer to hunt down prey that is more likely to flee than put up a fight at the time of encounter. Despite being smaller than lions, warthogs sometimes turn and face a lion head-on. So, even mighty creatures like lions would startle by such an act and will generally stop pursuing.
Warthogs have an advantage, tusks on their heads that are capable of gutting a lion if they attack. So, when faced with a fight with a warthog, the lion thinks that the prey (warthog) is not worth it and heads off to find their dinner somewhere else.
But the lion will most likely bring it down whenever a warthog does not make a stand. In most cases, the warthog will choose to fight back at some point; that is why you don’t see a lion often eating a warthog even though they consider them as a potential source of food.
- The second reason is warthogs are relatively small, which means they don’t have enough meat on their body that a lion requires and even less when it’s a whole pride. When lions go days without eating, they usually eat a quarter of their body weight in a single sitting. So, a warthog will not feed a single lion, alone a whole pride!
But in dire situations, a lion would never turn away from hunting a warthog unless it can afford to be more choosy. Warthog is only like a snack to lions, whereas a zebra is a complete meal, and when the lion hasn’t eaten any in days and spotted a warthog nearby, it will probably try hunting it down just for a bit of nourishment.
There are some special occasions, too, like when a lioness leaves their pride to give birth to her cubs in solitude, she will be forced to hunt alone instead of with several pride members. Then she may have to chase and hunt down smaller prey to get enough nourishment for her and her surviving cubs.
Also, there will be some nomad lions that are expelled from their birth prides once they reach maturity and are less likely to hunt successfully with all their large manes. So, a warthog will serve as a great target for them too!
Also Read: Do Lions Smell Bad?
But when a lion has options, there would be no point in a lion constantly hunting warthogs when there’s a much bigger buffet of larger prey like zebras or gazelles in the savannah.
Do Lions Eat Warthogs In Captivity?
No. Lions don’t eat warthogs in captivity. The scenario is different in the wild, but it is cruel and expensive for the zookeepers to order the hunting and shipment of actual warthog meat.
So, a warthog’s meat is off the menu, but still, the lions in captivity are pretty happy with the alternatives of beef and mutton, particularly when they don’t have to hunt for them.
What are the predators of Warthogs?
Apart from lions, some other warthog predators are panthers, hyenas, crocodiles, and humans. It is sad to see humans as predators for almost all the animals on the planet.
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