Will A Lion Eat Another Lion – Cannibalism In Lions

The lion is a big cat species found in Africa and Asia. It is an obligate carnivore and eats the meat of other animals. Lions live and hunt in the form of social groups known as pride. They are not scavengers and generally do not eat carrion or dead animals. Lions do not usually show cannibalistic tendencies. But in rare cases of desperate conditions and stress, like food scarcity and extreme hunger, they will eat the meat of other lions to survive. Here, we gathered information about, Will a lion eat another lion?, do lions eat other lions’ cubs, and do lions eat dead lions, how common is cannibalism in lions, and why a lion kills another lion.

Will A Lion Eat Another Lion?

lions cannibalism

Yes, a lion will eat another lion in special circumstances. Generally, lions are not known to be usually involved in cannibalism and do not hunt and eat other lions. The following are the main conditions in which a lion can eat another lion:

Food Scarcity

The habitat of lions sometimes undergo severe drought conditions. In such terrible conditions, the population of their prey becomes rare or diminishes, and extreme hunger leads to the death of some lions. In this case, other lions may consume the dead lions to survive.

Territorial Disputes

Lions are extremely territorial and do not tolerate rivals in their territory. Encroachment of rivals leads to severe disputes, and the winner may sometimes eat the defeated individual to show dominance and victory.


Infanticide is a behavior found in lions. When new males take over pride, they may intentionally kill the cubs of the previous dominant male. They do it to bring the females back into estrus more quickly, which allows them to mate and reproduce. The new dominant male may sometimes also eat the cubs or their parts to show dominance.

Pride Dynamics

Sometimes, members of a pride fight for dominance, which can lead to deadly injuries. The winner or other pride members may eat parts of the defeated individual. However, this behavior is rare as compared to territorial disputes.

Do Male Lions Kill Other Lion Cubs? – Do Lions Eat Other Lion Cubs?

When male lions take over a pride, they usually kill and sometimes eat the cubs in that pride. They do this to bring females into estrus, mate, and reproduce. Otherwise, the female would take about two years to breed. They also do this to show dominance.

Do Lions Eat Dead Lions?

Lions are not scavengers and generally do not eat dead animals. They are known for stealing other animals’ kills, such as hyenas. Some reports show that lions have consumed dead animals and leftover carcasses because of extreme hunger. So in exceptional cases of extreme hunger and food scarcity, lions may eat dead lions to survive.

How Common Is Cannibalism In Lions?

Cannibalism is not common in lions. They eat the meat of other lions only under extreme conditions. There are instances of lions eating meat of their kind, but it does not make part of their regular diet.

Do Male Lions Have More Cannibalistic Tendency?

Male lions are known to show cannibalistic tendencies because they frequently involve themselves in territorial disputes and pride takeovers. Such disputes usually end with severe damage or even the death of one party, and the winner sometimes eats parts of the loser. However, cannibalistic instances are rare, and certain desperate circumstances usually trigger it.

Why Would A Lion Kill Another Lion?

Lions usually fight to take over territories and the breeding rights of the females. Sometimes, the coalition mates often squabble with each other. At other times, they engage in big fights that cause the break up of their coalition. But mostly rival coalitions fight to get control over territory and breeding females. Such fights often end with the death of the defeated males.

Do Lions Eat Mountain Lions?

No, lions do not eat mountain lions. A mountain lion, cougar, or puma is native to the Americas, while lions are found in some parts of Africa and western India. There is no competition and no chances of interaction between the two species.