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Do Lions Attack and Eat Humans? Understanding Lion Behavior

If size mattered, the elephant would be the king of the jungle. However, the muscular, deep-chested lions with short, rounded heads, round ears, and hairy tufts at the end of their tails are considered the Majesties of the jungle.

They are recognized as the most vigorous, caring mothers, and great hunters. These creatures may attack various species, but it is rare for them to ambush vulnerable humans and consume them. Only gormandizing lions would dare to go for human meat. They naturally fear groups of people and avoid attacking cities or villages.

However, a single person doesn’t necessarily scare them, and they can easily surround an individual and feast on them.

Humans have persecuted a significant number of lions in the past, especially those that threatened their livestock or were hasty enough to prey on humans. Between 1990 and 2010, 1,000 attacks by lions on humans were recorded. The following are the reasons why lions attack humans:

  • Illness: Lions may target humans when they are sick because they are too weak to chase swift wild species. When ill, lions prefer soft meat that they can easily chew, considering the little strength they have remaining.
  • Hunger: Hunger can drive anyone to desperate acts, such as stealing or killing to find something to eat. Lions may resort to human flesh if they have gone days without a meal and become desperate for food.
  • Injury: Injured lions are often incapable of facing off against hyenas, elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, and other large animals. Injuries rob them of stability, especially if they have lost significant blood or sustained dental injuries that prevent them from tearing hard meat. In such cases, they may turn to humans as a source of sustenance.

How to defend yourself or scare away lions: Don’t run when a lion is nearby; stay calm and make arm waves while raising your voice. You can also throw things around you, like sticks, water bottles, and stones.

Avoid bending, as lions may perceive upright individuals as more significant threats. Always move in a group because a lion is less likely to attack multiple people. Lions tend to believe that a larger group of people poses a greater defense against them.

Use LED lights powered by old car batteries connected to a solar panel. These lights flash in sequence, tricking lions into believing that something larger than them is watching them, often causing them to retreat.

Things you shouldn’t do when near lion territories:

  • Urinating near your camping spot: Lions can detect the smell of urine, so avoid making your safari uncomfortable by engaging in this activity.
  • Leaving your belongings outside: Leaving your possessions unprotected outside provides lions with an opportunity to prey on you when you move out.

To stay safe during your safari, follow the instructions provided by your tour guide.

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