How Do Lions Hunt?

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Lions live together in prides and hunt in groups at night, stalking and encircling prey until one of the hunters is close enough to pounce, according to HowStuffWorks. Lionesses make up most hunting groups and often trap prey with their strong jaws.

Lions mainly roam the vast grasslands of sub-Saharan Africa, but a small population still exists in the Gir Forest in India, according to National Geographic. Working as a team allows lionesses to corner speedy animals, such as antelope and zebra, or attack large herds with minimal danger to their hunters. Occasionally, lions may attempt easy kills on their own or overpower weaker animals, such as hyenas, to steal fresh carcasses.

Stealthy hunting groups spread out to cover large distances and quietly move closer to the targeted prey. Lions often hunt at night to reduce their visibility and wait until they are 10 to 30 yards from their prey before charging forward, HowStuffWorks states. In some cases, lions use their massive paws and sharp claws to strike prey and achieve a firm grip. In other kills, they take animals by surprise with a quick bite on a vulnerable area of the body. In both scenarios, lions typically push the trapped animal to the ground, making the prey easier to gnaw or smother. Males are the first to take meat, while young cubs are at the bottom of the feeding hierarchy.