African lion facts

In this post we will look at some of the little know facts about lions

  • What does facts based evidence reveal about which prey the hunt?
  • What is the difference in success rates of a lion hunt when comparing when they hunt in a group versus hunting by themselves?
  • Do the lionesses do most of the hunting? If so why?

But before we do that you need to understand that lions are very sociable animals.

African lions are the only cats, which have close-knit social groups and the only ones that regularly hunt in groups.

african lion factsAfrican lions are the only cats that regularly hunt in groups

They live in groups called a “pride” which is made up of up to 15 individuals.

One of the main reasons for living in a pride is that they can work together during hunts which improves their success rate.

What are the African lion facts about their diet - what exactly do they eat?

Two wildlife regions that have analyzed the lion diet -

African lions prefer a diet of medium and large prey in the 50 to 300 kilogram range.

In the Kruger National Park their diet consists of:

  • impala 29%,
  • zebra 16%,
  • wildebeest 14% and
  • warthog 13%.

In the Savuti area which forms part of the Chobe National Park in Botswana the diet consist of:

  • 41% buffalo and
  • 29% zebra.

The lion diet will occasionally include larger species like:-

  • giraffes,
  • hippos and even
  • young elephants.

Lions may also sometimes dig warthogs out of their shallow burrows.

What are the African lion facts when it comes to their hunting success rates?

When African lions hunt alone they are successful in one out of six attempts.

However, when they hunt as a group their success rate goes up to one in three.

With larger prey such as buffalo, single lions do not even bother to attack.

In the Etosha National Park when hunting blue wildebeest, single lionesses:

  • make 0,28 kills per hunt while,
  • groups of 7 make 0,75 kills per hunt.

Do lions have enemies?

Unless they are heavily outnumbered they can chase away any other carnivore from its prey.

Adult male lions do not make way for other predators.

This is the reason why the presence of male African lions in a pride reduces losses of kills to spotted hyenas.




Head and body, 4.5 to 6.5 ft (1.4 to 2 m); Tail, 26.25 to 39.5 in (67 to 100 cm)


265 to 420 lbs (120 to 191 kg)

Group name



Can live in a wide range of habitats except for rain forest and deserts.

Lions can go for long periods of not drinking water. 

Gestation period

110 days

Is it true that the lionesses do most of the hunting?

Lionesses are often the more active hunter in open areas like the Serengeti but in the more wooded areas like the Kruger National the male lions acquire most of their food by killing it themselves.

So does this fact mean that African male lions are lazy and useless hunters?

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