Wild African lions' favorite foods are medium-sized to large hoofed animals such as zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, impalas and warthogs. Their prey ranges in size from rodents to Cape buffalo and also includes reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish and eggs. In zoos, lions receive beef and bones. All lions need drinking water.
Lions are Africa's largest predators. They hunt in social groups called prides, which consist of related females and coalitions of two to four males. The males, often brothers, defend the territory and the pride while the females do most of the hunting. After a pride makes a kill, the larger, stronger male lions dominate squabbles over the food, while cubs are at the bottom of the pride hierarchy. Cubs begin eating meat when they are about three months old and stop nursing when they are about six months old.
Living in prides allows lions to hunt fast prey more successfully. Prides make kills in about 30 percent of their hunts, while individual lions make kills about 17 percent of the time.
Adult lions have no natural predators, but hyenas kill cubs and weak or sick lions. The primary threat to adult lions is human poaching. Habitat loss pushes lions into more conflicts with humans and also makes predation on livestock more likely.