Lions tend to hunt mostly by night or in the early mornings, and for much of the rest of the time are the embodiment of lassitude. However, being opportunists they’ll hunt whenever the chance arises and that could be the middle of the hottest day.
Of some significance here is the fact that they’re not very fast animals, while by contrast, the animals they hunt are some of the fastest on the planet. A wildebeest can achieve a top speed of somewhere around 80 kph and maintain it effortlessly and even a humble wart hog can manage almost 50kph. In fact such is the disparity between predator and prey that many of the faster species don’t even bother to run away at full speed, which must be galling to say the least.
Consequently lions have developed two main hunting methods. The first is a version of grandmother’s footsteps, in which the lion stalks from cover to cover with a final burst of speed at the end. (If spotted the lion will sit up and stare nonchalantly into the distance.) The second method is to find a bush close to something your prey needs – usually water – climb in and wait. This has the great advantage that the lion can catch up on sleep whilst technically “out hunting”.
- Most lions drink water daily if available, but can go four or five days without it.
- Lions in arid areas seem to obtain needed moisture from the stomach contents of their prey.
- When males take over a pride, they usually kill the cubs.
- Both male and female lions roar, a sound which can be heard as far as 8 km away.
The following photographs were taken while tracking three lionesses at Samburu National Reserve,Kenya.