Long considered the king of the African plains in legend, lions struggle to survive as all other species in the wilderness and when it comes to feeding they eat anything from termites to elephants in order to survive. They are also renowned scavengers.
In many parts of Africa lions have specialized in hunting specific prey species, and buffalo are of the top prey species in many parts.
After watching the drama of lions hunting buffalo it is easy to understand why lions scavenge when they can.
Lions are opportunistic hunters but they have to hunt certain species such as porcupine with care as quills can cause great damage.
Despite the ferocious reputation honey badgers are often caught and killed by lions.
In arid areas lions will eat anything they find, including termites, but in areas of plenty lions will hunt small mammals such as mongoose but then use the carcass as a toy without eating it.
The cliched picture of lions as the king of the beasts is misleading as they have the lowest succes rate when hunting.
Individual pieces of meat, such as this elephant’s penis, are prized items at a carcass and may be taken into the shade to be enjoyed.
In some areas of Africa scavenging makes up more than half of the lion’s food intake as generally carcasses arfe easily accessible.
The softer parts of the carcass such as the stomach contents are much sought after by lions when feeding.
Tension at a carcass can boil over into aggression when a number of members of a pride are feeding at the same carcass. Lions are often harrassed by hyenas when they are feeding on a kill and sometimes have to succumb to sheer numbers. Lions have been known to feed on a single carcass for over a week, and will not hesitate to scavenge rotting carcasses.
When feeding on large prey lions will stay in the vicinity of the carcass until circumstances force them to move. The Okavango is fed by waters that journey from highlands thousands of miles away and spill into the delta to form one of natures miracle and from the air the Okavango Delta is a masterpiece of modern art.