If you’ve never seen a video of a lioness hunting a gazelle up close, this video is for you! These Thomson Safaris visitors got the view of a lifetime during their trip to Tanzania, Africa, when they saw a lioness try to hunt. Excitement mounts when the female lion catches sight of some Thompson’s gazelle drinking from a watering hole. Mere feet from the vehicle, she drops into a crouch with her ears back, stalking her prey.
As she creeps closer, she takes great care to avoid the rocks that could shift and give her away. At the last moment, she knocks one with her front paw, which makes some noise and spooks the gazelle. The four of them scamper off, and she’s just not fast enough to catch them. The lioness relies on her ability to get as close as possible before pouncing, especially when hunting alone. Let’s learn more about lionesses’ hunting below.
Watch the Lone Lioness Hunting Below!
Why Do Lionesses Do Most of the Hunting?
Although male lions do hunt, they prefer to leave the hunting to the lionesses. That’s because the dominant lion’s job is to protect the pride from intruders. Male lions live brutal lives, fighting and killing to keep their status and ability to spread their bloodline. In fact, one coalition (group of male lions) was dubbed the world’s deadliest lion coalition after their gruesome reign of nearly 16 years saw the death of more than 100 other lions!
With all that fighting to do, male lions rarely have time or energy to hunt. Lionesses pay for protection by allowing the males to breed with them, rearing the cubs (baby lions), and hunting. This mutualistic relationship (that is, one that benefits both parties) allows for the continuation of the species as a whole. It also favors the strongest lion bloodlines, as only the fiercest males get to breed.
How Do Lionesses Work Together to Hunt?
Lionesses teach their cubs from a young age how to cooperate and hunt with the pride. Female lions also have ranks within the pride. The dominant lioness leads the hunting party. The females work together to surround their prey so that when it runs, it does so right into another lioness waiting to strike. This pack behavior makes them much more successful than when they hunt alone. Wolves and African wild dogs use a similar strategy. These animals know there is strength in numbers, and cooperation usually pays off with a good meal to feed the family. It typically often pays off with a good kill; however, not today!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/jez_bennett
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