What do lions eat

What Do Lions Eat? – Learn About Their Diet!

People talk about lions very often. Have you ever pondered about “what do lions eat”? Or perhaps, you have visited a zoo, observe a lion there, and wondered “What do lions eat” After all they are considered ferocious animals. The very simple answer to the question that “What do lions eat”, is they eat “meat to remain healthy and long live”. Yes, meat is in the largest quantity in their daily food consumption.

As apex predators, lions tend to hunt for a consistent supply of food which is generally other small and large animals. Animals that often become a target of lions include zebras, giraffes, wild hogs, antelopes, and many times even crocodiles.

Lions are referred to as the “king of the jungle” for a reason. The ever-increasing list of wildlife animals, lions prey upon is one of the reasons why lions are considered brave, courageous, and furious. Lions whether male or female can scavenge more or less any animal they want to give their brute strength, intelligence, sharp claws, and teeth.

What Do Lions Eat: Generalist Hypercarnivores?

You have heard someone in your neighbours planning to get a lion and the very sudden question popped up in your mind was that “what do lions eat”. If so, you have landed in the right place. The guide provides you with enough information on “what do lions eat” in general and how they hunt for their food.

Lions are considered carnivorous animals that rely more on consuming meat for their daily nutritional needs. However, they are fairly different from the rest of the carnivorous animals living in the wild. They are able and willing to adapt their diets based on the environment they are living in. For instance, lions in captivity are offered the type of food their caretakers choose to provide them. However, lions in the wildlife are free to hunt any animal they want and feed themselves with it.

Nevertheless, in general, they are generalist species who just want to eat meat and aren’t picky behavior when it comes to choosing their prey to hunt. They are more likely to hunt any animal available and turn it into their food.

What Do Lions Eat: A Hypercarnivore Animal?

An average lion consumes more than 75% of meat in his daily diet. This is what a lion is often called a “hyper-carnivorous” animal. The term indicates that they eat meat in excess – yes their whole is based on hunting different types of small to large animals and making them their meal.

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Lion eating

What Do Lions Eat: How Much Food They Need?

You love lions and often read about them. Thus, now you want to get the answer to your question “what do lions eat”, right? Lions are generally not hungry all the time. They go out for their “target to kill” when they feel hungry and needed to eat something. Otherwise, they are likely to stick to their spot and rest for straight hours and hours.

Nevertheless, an adult female lion needs an average of 5kg of meat on her daily diet. In addition, in the case of adult male lions, they need to consume 7kg of meat on a daily basis. However, when we see their hunting and eating behavior, both are contradictory in terms of greed and need.

For their greedy behavior, a lion might end up eating about 25 to 30 kg of meat in just one season. However, if a lion isn’t able to eat that much in a single spell, he would take nap for a few hours straight and then come to eat again.

Another interesting fact about lion hunting and eating behavior is that they don’t need to go hunt in a group. A lion would go all alone or solo at the best possible spot where he can target his prey grabs and kills him with ease. He doesn’t need any assistance when it comes to how to hunt and get their food.

Lions as Obligate Carnivores

Lions are at the top of the food chain which reflects that this wildlife animal is dominant and no other animal thinks of them as prey. Lions are often considered the “obligate carnivores” which means that they are supposed to consume animal flesh for proper nutrition and nourishment.

In addition, lions are not capable of naturally producing the level of amino acids their bodies require to sustain. Thus, in order to remain in good health, stronger and fulfil their daily intake, they need to eat animal flesh in an adequate amount.

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Moreover, while lions cannot efficiently digest grass, vegetation and fruits, they still might nibble on some fruits or vegetation. Since they don’t have enzymes, meat is the only thing lions can easily digest.

Lion hunting
Black mane lion

What Do Lions Eat in the wild?

As stated, lions are not picky when it comes to hunting or killing wildlife animals in the wild. Furthermore, on average, an adult lion kills approximately 15 to 20 prey animals annually. They would go, hunt and eat any animal that is in their target including:

  • Zebras
  • Giraffes
  • Buffaloes
  • Antelopes
  • Wild Hogs
  • Crocodiles
  • Rhinoceros
  • Smaller elephants

In addition, if this wildest creature comes across small prey, they are probably to eat them as well including:

  • Birds
  • Mice
  • Hares
  • Lizards
  • Tortoises

What Do Lions Eat in Captivity?

If you are thinking “what do lions eat” in captivity the answer is they often are provided with a balanced diet including meat, bones and commercial foods. This helps them remain healthy as they gain complete nutrition on a daily basis.


As said earlier, lions are carnivores, this indicates that meat is an important and unavoidable part of their daily intake. Lions in captivity feed hugely on a wide array of different meat including rabbit, sheep, beef, chicken, horse and more.


Strength is in lions’ nature. The attitude for which they are recognized. Lions love to prey on different animals and make them their food. Thus, in captivity, they feed bones as one of the most common elements on the usual captive lions’ food menu. Big and fresh bones are provided to the lions living in the captivity. In general, cow bones are the very first preferred choice which includes femurs, knuckles, shanks and more.

Commercial Foods

Lions are supposed to feed every two to three days for a fact that their nutrient needs are high. In addition, as obligate carnivores, they have unique nutrient requirements as compared to other animals. Thus, they need a high and constant consumption of food that cannot be satisfied with meat and bones. Therefore, when they are in captivity they are served quality and fresh commercial foods formulated particularly with their species in mind.

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These foods are prepared to keep in mind all the lion’s key dietary needs including minerals, amino acids, calcium and more. Commercial food combined with raw meat and bones is a great food consumption for lions in captivity.

What Do Lions Eat Every Day?

Although lions don’t need to eat every day and as a fact that they can do it for a day or two without eating anything. However, if they get to catch any animal they target them to make them their food. They ultimately need between 5 kg to 7 kg on average on a daily basis. However, in some cases, lions even go for more than a week without eating and once they feel weak then they look out for prey animals like zebras, horses and even crocodiles eating up to 40 to 50 kg at a tie.

What Do Lions Eat If They Can’t Prey On?

In the wildlife, lions might also consume grass irrespective of the fact that they are carnivores. Sometimes maybe because of the unavailability of an animal, they can prey on and other times might be because they have some stomach issues. In addition, the grass is simply and most readily available plant for lions in the wild to consume.

Nevertheless, in some situations eating grass or plants might cause lions irritation and other stomach problems including vomit and more. Thus, for them, it is always ideal to consume meat as more as they can to remain vigorous, energetic and healthy for the long term.

Summing It Up

Hopefully, all of your queries related to “what do lions eat” have been answered in this guide. Next time when you see a lion in the zoo or hear about them you will be sure that what they eat, how do they prey on animals, and their eating habits as a who

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