How Lions Hunt
Lions can not live without hunting. Even though they eat anything they can catch (including turtles and fish), large prey such as buffaloes, antelopes, and zebras are preferred by them. Animals which have died because of disease are also eaten by lions, as well as the prey which a hyena or cheetah has hunted.
The life of a lion can either be a life of starvation, or one of feast. There may be no animals to hunt for almost a week. But in normal cases the lion is able to find something to eat within three to four days. Then the lion eats like there is no tomorrow. Male lions can eat thirty five kilograms of meat in a single meal. After the animal is killed, it is dragged by the lion to a shady area. One lion has the strength to haul a two hundred and seventy kilogram zebra, which is no easy feat even if six people try to do so together. The whole pride gathers to eat, and every one wants to get the most of the meat. Therefore there is a lot of snarling and growling.
It is not easy for a lion to catch a large sized animal. The lion has a maximum speed of fifty five kilometers per hour, and most of the animals it prefers to eat can run faster than this. The lion has to surprise its prey by stalking. Moving slowly, its body grazing the ground, the lion creeps closer. When it is fifteen kilometers away, it charges forward, gets hold of the animal’s side, head, or rump and brings it to the ground. When the prey is on the ground the lion generally strangles the prey’s throat using its own mouth.
The normal hunting time for a lion is night time. This is because the dark gives the lion the element of surprise. To carry out this task, it has certain equipment granted to it by nature. Its gold colored eyes have the ability to see clearly in the dark, and along with that the lion has a keen sense of smell and hearing. From time to time a number of lions hunt together. While a few of them hide, the rest encircle the prey and herd it to where the lions are waiting, squatting in the high length grass. It is normal for the female lions (lionesses) to hunt instead of the male lions. But the males hunt on their own when they discover prey. The cubs in the pride find out how to hunt by observing the adults in action.
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