Hunting and Feeding
During hunting by these social mammals, small and big game is taken, some lion prides being experts in preying on elephant or crocodiles.
Excellent hunters does not mean the most successful but when working as a team at least one out of three hunts tend to be successful.
Ambushing, driving a herd and night time hunting seems to work best for most pride.
Death is usaully by suffocation and the prey goes into shock and is generally believed to die before feeling any pain. Other techniques include breaking of the neck or breaking the spinal cord.
Only then can the females eat and after them or if there is enough place around the kill, the cubs. This is also the most dangerous time for cubs and injury to other members of the pride are high.
Where possible hungry females will try and get as close as possible to the food, even trying to lay on top of a piece of meat. Other females spotting this and filled with jealousy will attack the female.
If a piece of meat/bone comes apart from the kill, this will usually lead to a 1st grab 1st get situation, as long as the lioness moves away from the kill.
Just because lions succeed in making a kills it doesn't mean they get to eat it, especially the females.
Frequently, other predators, especially hyenas, will pester lions to the point where they will abandon a kill to them. A different story when males are present. The chances of fighting and getting severely injured is not worth the meal.
Having the worst table manners, lions always fight over their food. But, when it's all over, they will lovingly greet, groom and lick each others wounds.
Images Below: The female in estrus was snacking and another female, from the same pride, tried to join, the male with mating rights in the group, lost his temper and went to defend the female - as well as her snack, as she did not eat for a few days, she didn't get involved in the squabbles and going on's but chewed as fast as she could.
A lion will gorge itself, where possible, on a kill. An adult on average eats 20 Kg, of meat at a time, but needs an Approx 5-7kg per day, per lion (depending size, sex etc)
Depending on the size of the meal, lions can laze around for 20 hours a day, thus taking enough time for the digestion of such a protein rich meal.
Diet : Mostly wildebeest, zebra, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, kudu, warthog and buffalo. In leaner times they will even settle for rats and birds.
When the opportunity arises lions will also become scavengers. The diet of the lion is dependant on the habitat and the game available. History has even told of lionesses that become experts in hunting baboons, crocodiles and young elephants.
Not dependant on water as they receive moisture from prey.
Lions kept in captivity, lion camps, are usually fed twice a week, an average of 30-40kg per lion per week. Between 5 and 7% of his body weight. But they can eat up to 25% of their body weight.
This meat is usually obtained from game, livestock and supplemented with chicken necks and backs, if the coat seems dull and dry, this will boost the fat intake and improve the coat, especially if the lions main meals come from horsemeat only.
In Namibia the lions are also fed with dead seals to boost their fat intake. This is not the best as fish oils turn rancid and cause tissue damage and future health problems.
Fighting for the best portion of the meal....
and while the males feed the lioness steals as much as possible
the males are still fighting while the female enjoys her stolen bits.....
Below - Link to a HIPPO KILL
Video footage used: Courtesy of BBC Nature Wildlife - displaying BBC video's on this site is for educational purposes - Please do not copy any photos - More lion photos on http://www.pixoto.com/charmane/recent