How Do Lions Protect Themselves?
Lions protect themselves with their intimidating size, sharp teeth and sharp claws. They also live in social groups called “prides,” which give them the protection of numbers. When they are threatened while feeding by a large group of predators, such as spotted hyenas, they sometimes protect themselves by yielding and allowing the hyenas to steal the kill.
Because of their size and strength, adult lions have no natural predators. Lions usually dominate smaller predators, such as leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs. Lions often steal these predators’ kills and sometimes even prey on their young. Lions are more likely to die violently when fighting with other lions or when hunted by humans. Although lions venturing into water have been known to be attacked and overcome by crocodiles, lions sometimes kill crocodiles on land.
Prides of lions consist of several females, their cubs and a few males. Although female lionesses do most of the hunting due to their swiftness and agility, male lions are better able to defend the pride due to their size and powerful build. Male lions spend much of their time on guard, observing and marking the pride’s territory. When the pride is threatened, some lions advance to meet the intruder while others remain behind and guard the cubs.