Lions’ diet primarily consists of mammals, mainly the large ones, including blue wildebeests, common zebras, African buffalos, and gemsboks, among others.
But what about giraffes? Do lions eat giraffes?
Yes, lions eat giraffes. However, lions would more often eat smaller herbivore mammals that are easier to hunt. Adult giraffe is very tall, and it is hard for lions to take the animal down. As a result, lions would mainly attack and eat young giraffes rather than adult ones.
How do lions hunt giraffes? What are giraffes’ defending methods? Who else hunts giraffes? Read this article to find out.
Do Lions Eat Giraffes?
Due to their enormous size, giraffes are not usually targeted by lions. Also, besides their dimensions, giraffes are social animals, and they find additional safety by living in herds.
However, their social bond is not as strong as other herd animals. Hence, many giraffes live outside the groups, and those same giraffes are the main lion’s target.
Still, even one adult giraffe is a challenging task. And, in order to take down a grown giraffe, a lion’s pack requires teamwork.
When hunting other animals, lions usually kill their prey by strangulating or going for the victim’s neck with their powerful jaws.
A giraffe is too large for the lion to pounce directly on its neck. Therefore, lions attack a giraffe’s hind legs. After inflicting many bites and claw wounds, a giraffe would become less and less resistant, and more lions would start leaping on its back.
Eventually, a giraffe would get knocked down. And once it is down, all pack members would start preying on an animal.
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How do giraffes protect themselves from lions?
Even though they look peaceful and feeble, giraffes are not easy prey. And big cats do not every time manage to prey on a lanky animal.
In recent reports, scientists inspected the scars on giraffes’ backs and legs. Surprisingly, most of the scars are from the lion’s claws. In other words, a lot of giraffes managed to defend themselves from lions.
Yet, these scars are not found in young ones. When lions grab giraffe calves, they most likely take them down every time.
When attacked, adult giraffes would protect themselves by kicking lions with their fore or hind legs.
With an average weight of 2500 pounds, their strong hooves can be lethal for lions. For instance, one strike can break a lion’s skull or back.
In fact, in many cases, some lion pack members suffer fatal injuries when attacking a giraffe. And because of that, adult giraffes are not the number one food source for powerful predators.
When hunting a giraffe, a lion’s pack usually counts a larger group. However, there are cases when only two adult lions managed to take down a giraffe.
Other giraffes predators
For many animals, life in the wild is hard. Surrounded by adept hunters a day to day survival is like a game of chance. Especially for young animals.
Yet, due to their intimidating size and deadly kicks giraffes manage to defend themselves from intruders. Most animals do not even dare attack an adult giraffe.
On the other side, young calves are often preyed upon. Despite the fact that they grow really fast (2 inches per day) 75% of infants do not remain alive until adulthood.
Nonetheless, apart from lions, a few other animals are known to attack a giraffe. They include:
After lions, hyenas are the most frequent giraffes predators. Specialized teamwork hunters, hyenas are one of the most skilled hunters in the wild. However, hyenas usually prey on young and weak giraffes rather than grown ones.
Leopard is another cat family member that preys on giraffes. Still, due to their solitary life and hunting habits, leopards only attack young and defenseless giraffes.
African wild dogs
Known for their durability and aggression, these animals would chase their prey until exhaustion. Same as hyenas and leopards, they are not a threat to a grown giraffe. Yet, if they get the slightest chance, they will attack young calves.
Crocs would try to catch giraffes when drinking the water. With their stealth attack, the crocodile would grab and pull its victim into the water and drown it. Still, crocodile attacks on giraffes are not as frequent.
Regardless of the fact that they have very few predators in the wild, giraffes have much more dangerous predators called people. While in most places it is illegal to harm or kill a giraffe, these scenarios occur very often.
In conclusion, lions eat giraffes. Their strength and hunting skills allow them to eat large animals. However, due to their size, adult giraffes are not the number one lion’s food source. Yet, young giraffes are much more vulnerable, and lions would more frequently eat them.
Despite their clumsy look, giraffes are strong animals. Many times predators fail to take them down due to their powerful leg kicks.
In the wild aside from lions, hyenas, leopards, and crocodiles sometimes feed on giraffes.
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