Do lions eat leopards and cheetahs?

Lions are one of the most dominant predators in all wildlife. It is common to think that they eat any other animal they come across. But that is contrary to reality; lions do not eat leopards and cheetahs, and it is not a common practice for them.

Of course, lions have their preferred prey that best suits their nutritional requirements. In addition, their digestive systems have evolved to utilize better the nutrients their favorite prey provided, and leopards and cheetahs are not on that scale.

Why do lions kill leopards and cheetahs?

Although lions do not eat leopards and cheetahs, they kill them frequently. Leopards and cheetahs are other predators in the animal world, which means that they have prey in common with lions. In that sense, lions seek to kill them to eliminate some of the competition for food and territory.

Why do lions kill leopards and cheetahs

Lions are highly territorial animals and understand that the prey within the territory they have conquered are deserved by them. Thus, lions are jealous of their territory and eliminate any competition that comes their way, in this case, leopards and cheetahs.

Not only that, but lions also kill cheetahs and leopards to protect their cubs. Understanding these competitors as a direct threat to their cubs and killing them is the most effective way to ensure the safety of their young.

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In general, demonstrating power, eliminating competition for food and establishing territory is why lions kill cheetahs and leopards. They have no reason to seek to feed on them.

Do lions eat leopards and cheetahs - cheetahs

Why don’t lions eat leopards and cheetahs?

Lions have well-established favorite prey; it is a matter of nutritional profitability. In the animal world, lions and many other carnivores rule not to eat other carnivores in the same link of the food chain.

A natural rule called the “10% energy rule” states that the higher an animal is in the food chain, the lower the energy level it provides. Hunting a large predator, fighting them, removing the meat and digesting it is a higher energy expenditure than the cheetah or leopard will deliver to the lion.

cheetah cub

In this way, lions prefer to hunt herbivores and other smaller carnivores that are less strenuous to hunt, eat and digest. In other words, it is not nutritionally and energetically profitable for lions to eat cheetahs or leopards.

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On the other hand, lions do not choose cheetahs or leopards as food for survival. Predators have more parasites and diseases that they contract from their prey. A lion is more likely to suffer from diseases when eating cheetahs or leopards that have eaten other animals.

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Top predators that eat top predators are at much greater risk of disease. They are also more prone to serious physical injury.

Why don't lions eat leopards and cheetahs

Generally speaking, predators that avoid eating other predators in their food chain have a better chance of surviving the animal world. Of course, lions know this and consider eating cheetahs or leopards a waste of time and resources and a risk that is not profitable.

Can a lion kill a cheetah?

Lions trump cheetahs in terms of power, strength and size. Thus, lions can safely kill these other predators because they are smaller than they are.

Also, lions stand out as among the most lethal predators and at the top of the food chain. Thus, they can kill virtually any other animal below them in the food chain.

Can a lion kill a cheetah

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Figures report that lions kill a few dozen cheetahs, including their cubs, year after year. To the point of affecting their presence in certain territories where they cohabit. In general, the lions’ motivation is focused on demonstrating their power within the territory and eliminating other animals that may compete with them for food.

What animal eats leopards?

The biggest threats leopards face are lions and hyenas. However, lions do not eat leopards for the reasons described above, but hyenas do kill leopards with the intention of eating them.

Can leopards kill a lion?

The answer to this question depends on several factors. To begin with, assuming a healthy, robust and adult leopard, a lion cub would have no chance of survival against it. The leopard would only need minimal effort to kill it.

Can leopards kill a lion

Now, considering the same adult leopard in total health against an adolescent lion, they may have a fair fight, and one of them will end up dead. The leopard’s chance against a juvenile lion arises from the youth, size and inexperience of a growing lion.

Finally, a healthy adult leopard facing a healthy adult lion would not stand a chance. The lion would be able to demonstrate its physical superiority and all the dominance that backs it up as the ruler of the wild.

Do leopards eat lion cubs

The only chance for an adult leopard against an adult lion is if the latter suffers some injury that makes it impossible to exploit all its physical power. Also, it may have a chance if it is a lion in advanced old age.

Do leopards eat lion cubs?

It is not common for leopards to choose lion cubs as food, but it does happen. In general, leopards may hunt and eat lion cubs when the cubs have been left unattended and unprotected by their mother.

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There is graphic evidence of a case in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park where a leopard stole a lion cub and climbed a tree to eat it. But, generally speaking, it is a unique situation that has only been seen a few times, and there is little evidence of it happening.

lion cub

Leopards prefer to stay as far away from lions as possible to protect their integrity, as lions kill them to establish dominance. In the end, the reality is that lions have all the authority over leopards.

On the contrary, lions do kill leopard cubs frequently. It is a way to establish their territory, but they do not eat them because they are not within their food preferences.

Do lions eat jackals

Do lions eat jackals?

Large predators such as lions often ignore Jackals, as they do not target the same prey and do not consider them as direct competition.

Furthermore, they are not dangerous to cubs; the only problem they pose is that they can scare away prey preferred by lions.

Lions do not consider them profitable in terms of energy. However, if they are close enough and are easy prey, there is a possibility that they will kill them and use them as food.

Subscribe to the newsletter if you want to discover and transport yourself to other times by traveling to places of indescribable beauty.

Or if you want to create unforgettable memories and stories that you'll be telling for years to come.

Additionally, you'll get our ebook "Top African Safari Destinations and Insider Tips" at no cost.

Passionate about nature and travel. I lose track of time watching animals in the wild. Based in Botswana. We offer safaris in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Connect on Instagram.