Do Lions Eat Hyenas? | Information and Facts

There has been bad blood between lions and hyenas since they hunt on the same ground and have the same prey.

As a result, they kill each other as revenge and prove their superiority, making them mortal enemies.

Do lions eat hyenas? Though it’s correct that lions kill hyenas, they rarely eat their meat. They don’t eat hyenas’ meat since they’re apex predators, like them. Lions much prefer to prey on herbivores since they have a lot of nutrients and fats. Only the old and weakest lions will eat a hyena if there’s a food shortage.

By reading this guide, you will know more about the animosity between hyenas and lions. You will also encounter the animals that the King of the Jungle is afraid of, so let’s get this started!

Are Lions and Hyenas Enemies?

Are Lions and Hyenas Enemies

Lions and hyenas are natural enemies. They both compete for the same territory and food since they have the same prey.

Since they don’t like to share their resources, their hatred towards one another grows exponentially, resulting in the killings of the young on both sides.

This serves as an act of vengeance and proof of superiority over one another. 

Why Do Lions and Hyenas Fight?

Lions and hyenas are both apex predators and fight because they hunt for the same prey and are mostly co-existing on the same ground. This usually leads to a brawl that typically ends up in death. 

Both parties are not willing to share resources and want everything just for themselves. Although the hyenas are much known to be scavengers, they are also highly competent hunters, contending at almost the same level as lions when in packs.

Who Usually Wins in Fights Between Lions & Hyenas?

The fight between lions and hyenas will be a sight to behold. Both wild animals are cunning, strong, and fearless in a duel.

In fights between lions and hyenas, who generally wins depends. Both hyenas and lions hunt in packs, but a lion oftentimes hunts in solo too—which is quite a disadvantage against a pack of ravenous hyenas.

Hyenas’ jaws are exceptionally strong, and they are capable of tearing a lion and even snapping its bones. However, a lion would never back out from a fight against a pack of hyenas.

Even though hyenas have the most powerful bites among animals, lions are far superior when it comes to strength and stature.

In a battle to the death, a hyena will never stand a chance against a lion since they are doubled and even sometimes tripled in size. Lions use their size, strength, and speed to kill hyenas at all costs.

Nonetheless, even if the lion prevails in a duel, it will still incur critical wounds. 

Is It True That Lions Steal Hyenas Food?

Lions and hyenas co-exist in the same hunting ground and pursue the same prey. They both steal each other’s food, leading to a bloody fight.

Nonetheless, the lions mostly steal first the kills of hyenas, making the bad blood between them grow worse.

Why Lions Don’t Feast on Hyenas After Killing Them?

Lions don’t eat hyenas after killing them because they prefer to consume herbivores, such as antelope, buffalo, zebra, etc. These animals contain fats and nutrients that lions need.

The meat of hyenas is not healthy enough for lions since they eat dead animals, and so their flesh is unlikely to be satisfying for the lion’s appetite. Only the old and weakest lions eat hyenas if the food source is lacking

Which Animals Eat Hyenas?

Some of the predators of hyenas are crocodiles, lions, and leopards. However, lions only kill hyenas and don’t eat them since they prefer herbivores. 

Leopards and crocodiles, on the other hand, would tear and feast on hyena’s meat.    

Do Lions Get Eaten by Hyenas?

Do Lions Get Eaten by Hyenas

Lions sometimes get eaten by hyenas, particularly when they hunt solo. Hyenas are too powerful since they hunt in packs, and they can become overpowering against a lion who is hunting alone, but this doesn’t mean a lion won’t give a good fight against a pack of hyenas.

Hyenas usually steer away from male lions since they’re too strong. They particularly attack only young lions and vulnerable lionesses.

Has a Hyena Ever Killed a Lion?

Has a Hyena Ever Killed a Lion

Hyenas usually don’t hunt for adult lions as they are too strong for them and only kill baby lions and weak lionesses.

However, if given a chance, they will attack a solitary lion for food even despite the risk of getting overpowered.

Are Lions Afraid of Hyenas?

Lions see hyenas as their competition for food and territory, but they were never afraid of them. They’re mainly defensive of their territory and would only like to keep all the potential prey to themselves. 

Thus, marking their domain and slaughtering hyenas is the only possible choice they have.

Are Hyenas Stronger Than Lions?

Are Hyenas Stronger than Lions

Lions are much stronger and bigger than hyenas. However, hyenas have a stronger bite and sense, matching the lions.

On top of that, lions are well-known to kill the young of hyenas. As a result, when a lion enters a hyena’s territory, it will be dealt with swiftly by the pack of angry hyenas.

Are Hyenas Smarter Than Lions?

Are Hyenas Smarter Than Lions

Hyenas are much smarter than lions since they can sense the weak and the old in the pack of lions and use it to their advantage. In fact, according to Holekamp’s research, hyenas have been demonstrated to be equally intelligent as the primates.

What Animal Is a Lion Afraid Of?

Lions have a few natural opponents, and these include hyenas! The two compete for the same food and territory, making them mortal enemies. 

But, aside from their natural enemies, lions are also known to be afraid of the following animals:


Elephants are the largest land animals—a characteristic that assures pride will need to have every lion on deck to bring it down. So, it’s not a surprise that lions avoid adult elephants.

They only go after the elephant cubs, the reason why adult elephants developed defensive habits to protect their young. A male elephant can weigh around 14,000 pounds, and the whole herd will surround their young to cover them against lions physically. 

The heavy feet and tusks of an elephant are a formidable danger for even a group of lions. They’re also known to pick large trunks and swing them to their attackers. 

Lions can quickly die or get critically injured when they receive a blow from a grown elephant.


Crocodiles are known to prey on lions that are seen lounging too deep in the watering spot. They latch on lions, drown them, and release them when they are lifeless.


Although hippos may look like giant goofy pigs, they kill more people than lions per year. Lions tend to respect their territorial borders and never try to trespass or challenge hippos.

Nonetheless, there are occasions when lions attack baby hippos but avoid the adult ones. Despite being huge, hippos can run 35 miles per hour, so lions think twice before messing with the grown-up hippos.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Hyenas Eat Humans?

A pack of hyenas is notoriously known to eat corpses, even those of humans. However, hyenas attacking humans are infrequent, and they would not normally pursue humans as their immediate food source if their prey is abundant.

Do Lions Eat Humans?

Lions eat humans. However, this is only very rare since humans are not living in the same space as them.

But, there have been numerous cases when a lion saw a human, attacked, and ultimately ate the human alive in the wild.


Lions and hyenas will forever be mortal enemies since they continue to co-exist in the same hunting ground and pursue the same prey. Both will continue to eliminate each other’s young to prove their dominance as long as they exist.

List of Sources

Lion. Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute.

Morrison, D. (2015). How Lions Became Social. University of Minnesota.

All about lions. University of Minnesota.

Watts, H. E., Blankenship, L. M., Dawes, S. E., Holekamp, K. E. (2010). Responses of spotted hyenas to lions reflect individual differences in behavior. Loyola Marymount University.