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Do Lions Eat Cheetahs? Here’s What to Know

Lions and cheetahs are some of the most well-known creatures on the planet. But despite their widespread popularity, little is known about their dietary habits. Because of its immense size and unique hunting ability, the lion is the jungle king. 

The lion’s incredible strength is one of its best qualities. Since it is a carnivore, the lion gets its meat by hunting other creatures. Wildebeest, zebras, and antelopes are among the medium- to large-sized animals that lions often kill and consume. This throws one question unanswered:

Can a Lion Eat a Cheetah?

Can a Lion Eat a Cheetah

It is a more common question that do Lions eat Cheetahs? Yes, lions can consume cheetahs, but only in exceptional circumstances when they are starving and have no other feeding options.

As you may know, lions are carnivores and the highest wild animals in the food system. So, it is not unusual to see a lion eating Cheetah and other animals, such as Cheetahs and their cubs. The most surprising aspect is that Lions rarely eat them after violently attacking them. Since lions are aggressive creatures but usually, they frequently try to kill big cats.

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Why Do Lions Kill Cheetahs?

Lion looking face to face

The primary reason why lion kills Cheetah and other smaller carnivores are because of regional supremacy. They kill only for the purpose to protect their area rather than for sustenance. Lions only kill to live in a community and protect their region. That’s the answer to why do lions kill Cheetahs?

As per a 2014 investigation, there was a common concern that do lions hunt cheetahs or not; lions hunt and kill hundreds of big cats and cheetah cubs yearly, jeopardizing the species‘ survival. Lions and cheetahs do not directly compete for prey. Lions rule over cheetahs, taking and scavenging their prey.

Lions and big cats do not interact directly; they merely stay competitive for the same food. Lions prey on large cats such as cheetahs, snatching their food and devouring their pups. The lion has the upper hand in a fight between them. They have been reported to kill nearly 80% of cheetah cubs in some regions. If lions come across big cats in their region, they can kill them.

Do Lions Have the Edge Over Cheetahs?

Do Lions Have the Edge Over Cheetahs

Yes, a lion is more potent than a cheetah. Lions may reach a height of 82 inches (208 cm) and weigh up to 496 pounds (225 kg), but cheetahs can reach a height of 59 inches (150 cm) and weigh up to 159 pounds (72 kg). This is why cats, like leopards and cheetahs, are afraid of lions, and lions can easily frighten them. 

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Do Cheetahs Eat Lions?

Cheetah Hunting Hare On Field

Here is a big turn can Cheetah kill a lion? Young lions are unable to overpower cheetahs and cannot kill. Though Cheetah acquires chasing and killing techniques from their moms, still they will never attempt to hunt down and eat lions. Therefore, no animals can kill and consume lions in the wild.

Is It True That Lions Despise Cheetahs?

Lion chasing cheetah in the wild

Because wild creatures lack sophisticated feelings like hate and empathy, it’s hard to establish whether lions despise big cats. But lions are thought to despise cheetahs due to their aggressive behavior toward them.

Lions do not hate cheetahs, but they are envious of them because they are slower than their younger cousins. Because of their slowness, they are still unable to chase down rapid prey that cheetahs can easily catch.

Lions and cheetahs compete for food, and lions believe there will be no food left for them if cheetahs win. As a result, lions frequently attack cheetahs to lessen rivalry.

What Animals Eat Cheetahs?

Cheetah caught in camera while staring

Cheetahs are easy prey for other animals. Cheetahs are preyed upon by predators such as leopards, spotted hyenas, and lions. Cheetah cubs (young cheetahs) are especially vulnerable to predation.

They are also preyed upon by humans. The irony is that most carnivores do not hunt cheetahs for sustenance. Instead, to protect their region and territory, they fight back and kill cheetahs.

A dead cheetah can be eaten by vultures, wild dogs, jackals, wolves, and other animals that like to look for food on their own.

See Related: Cheetah: Is This Animal Endangered?

Why Do Lions Hate Leopards?

Leopard on a tree branch in the wild

Animals usually don’t have feelings of hatred or empathy, but there are situations, in which they try to be aware of their opponents. There are two reasons why lions hate big cats. The first is that there is a lot of competition in the food system. Leopards take their kills up into the trees, making it hard for lions to catch and eat them.

Lions aren’t as good of hunters as big cats. So, they are often seen as a threat to the food chain of lions. To escape rivalry, lions will instinctively attack leopards and other smaller carnivores.

Lions also fear leopards because they pose a threat to their young. Because of this, lions will always attack leopards to protect their territory.  Lions and leopards are fierce rivals who constantly battle to the death if they cross paths.

Do Lions Eat Leopards

Jaguar Face with Leopard Print in Silhouette
Александр Денисюк / Adobe Stock

As was already said, lions don’t eat cats very often. But when a lion is starving, desperate times call for drastic measures.

  • If a lion ate leopards instead of buffalo, he would have to eat ten times as much leopard meat as buffalo meat to get the same amount of energy.
  • Since lions are only about 1/8 as good at hunting as a group of thousands of herbivores, hunting leopards instead of thousands of herbivores would make them even worse hunters.
  • There may also be danger from other animals. Even though lions are stronger than leopards, they can still hurt themselves.
  • So, animals can fight back, but most would instead run away.
  • Another reason why lions don’t eat leopards is that there aren’t as many predatory animals as prey animals. There are a lot more herbivores than carnivores. So, lions eat whatever is easiest for them to get.

See Related: Do Lions Eat Elephants? Here’s What to Know

What Animal Can Kill A Lion?

Fierce looking lion approaching

Even though lions eat other animals, they can also be hurt by other animals, especially when hunting.

  • One strong kick from an elephant, giraffe, or buffalo can kill a lion.
  • Hippos, for example, have big, strong teeth that can tear a lion apart with a single bite. Alligators have razor-sharp teeth and a strong tail that can hurt a lion apart with a single swipe. Cheetahs are smarter, faster, and wiser than lions, so they are likelier to win a fight.
  • Lions’ biggest predators are people. Most lions die because of things like illegal hunting, shooting at targets, and other moral or immoral actions by people.

Is it True That Lions Despise Humans?

Woman kissing Lion

Lions don’t have to hate people. In any case, people and lions have peacefully coexisted since dawn.

Still, studies show that lions are more afraid of people than they are hostile toward them. If they feel threatened, they may attack.

Because lions are wild animals, it is hard to guess what they will do. Particular lions, like the Tsavo man-eaters, used to playfully bite people, whereas mountain lions are believed to flee when they hear people.

See Related: Why are Lions the King of the Jungle?

Between a Lion and a Cheetah, Which One Is the Stronger?

Family of Cheetahs in Africa
Matrishva Vyas / Shutterstock

Because lions and cheetahs look so much alike, it can be hard to choose between them in a contest.

Most of the time, lions are more potent and have more strength. Compared to lions, tigers are also more thoughtful and smarter. Based on this, it’s clear that Lions are stronger than Tigers.

Last Thoughts

Animals like lions at the top of the food chain are predators. They don’t have many enemies, but other cats are afraid of them. When it comes to eating other meat-eaters, lions only kill big ones like cheetahs and leopards, but they don’t eat them very often. Predators attack other predators to keep their territory and stop them from moving in.


Would a lion kill a cheetah?

A lion killing a cheetah is a rare occurrence. Lions are apex predators and typically do not see cheetahs as prey due to their smaller size and speed. However, if a lion feels threatened or if food is scarce, it may attack a cheetah.

What animal can eat a cheetah?

The answer to “What animal can eat a cheetah?” is that cheetahs are apex predators and are not typically preyed upon by other animals. However, cheetah cubs may be vulnerable to predation by lions, hyenas, and leopards. Additionally, adult cheetahs may occasionally fall prey to larger predators such as lions and spotted hyenas in areas where competition for food is high.

Which animal can a lion not eat?

A lion cannot eat a fully grown elephant. Elephants are too large and powerful for a lion to take down on its own. In fact, lions typically avoid elephants altogether, unless they are part of a larger group and can coordinate an attack.

Can a lion kill a leopard?

A lion can kill a leopard. Lions are apex predators and have been known to attack and kill other predators, including leopards. However, leopards are also skilled hunters and are capable of defending themselves against lions, especially if they are in trees where lions cannot reach them.

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