How Lions Eat: A Lion’s Guide to Dining Etiquette
Lions are heavy eaters – the males eat 7 kg of carcass per day, and females eat 5 kg. If you own a cat, how many cans of food does it finish in a week? Well, lions eat an equivalent of 70 cans of cat food daily (we give them beef carcass!).
We’ve written some interesting facts about lions but even after reading that, you’d be surprised about them! Here’s a special article about how they hunt and eat.
Choosing from a menu
Lions typically hunt animals between 50 kg (such as warthogs) and 300 kg (wildebeest). They rarely prey on fully grown healthy elephants, but do on small or sickened ones or elephants ready to die who typically distance themselves from the herd.
Zebra, giraffes, buffalo and antelopes are part of the menu, too. They typically get priority over small animals like rodents, mongoose or rabbits because the energy expended to catch the prey will not be paid off by eating these small animals.
The catch and bite
All big cats hunt differently according to their social behaviors. Cheetahs are lonely hunters, but they can run up to 90 km/h. Leopards rely on agility, they can even catch their prey in trees. Tigers have camouflage that blends well in the riverbank environment.
Lions are not agile enough to climb trees and can only run up to 60 km/h. So, they must use strategic hunting. We’ve written about how lions use teamwork to hunt their prey in this article.
The lions must close the distance from their prey as much as possible by stalking them. Their golden fur blends well with the typically dry savannah grass.
Without warning, they ambush their prey and make a short chase, together with the females, trap one particular animal from all sides. Occasionally the male lions hunt alongside.
Their sharp claws grapple their prey’s hinds, slowing it down for the kill. The lion kills by sinking their long, sharp and curved canines into the prey’s neck, strangling it.
Dining etiquette for lions
Food is distributed among the pride, with the alpha male lion eating first before everyone, even though the females were the ones catching the prey. Finally, the females and young get to eat the leftovers.
Dining Etiquette at Tsavo Lion Restaurant
In the wild, the lions have their own unique way of hunting and dining as a pride, and it’s not different at Tsavo Lion Restaurant.
1. Please do not disturb the lions.
Lions are nocturnal animals and are less active during the day. You may see them napping in the shade, if not walking around and interacting with each other. Do not tap the glass to attract their attention. Just let them be and observe.
2. Please do not touch the glass.
Tapping or hitting the glass disturbs the lions and other guests. Touching the glass will make it dirty. Our cleaning staff works hard to ensure the glass looks clear, giving guests a chance to take high-quality photos.
3. Please supervise your children.
Tsavo Lion Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant that takes place in a more relaxed atmosphere. You can wear your shorts, t-shirt and sandals to the restaurant.
We want to offer the best dining experiences we can provide, and we will appreciate that your children do not run around and disturb the guests. We understand how excited they are watching the lions up close.
4. Please do not disturb guests that are sitting near the glass.
When it is feeding time, lions will approach the glass as their typical eating spot. As much as you want to take a much closer look, please be aware that guests might be sitting near this area. Do not stand too close to them and make them feel uncomfortable.
Together we can all enjoy the company of our planet’s finest big cats at Tsavo Lion Restaurant. If you stay at Mara River Safari Lodge, it’s possible to have breakfast and dinner with the lions.