- By hunting as a group, the lionesses give themselves the best chance of bringing down larger prey but it doesn’t always work.
- Buffalos are very able and willing to defend themselves against lions and other predators and their most useful defensive tactic is to stick together.
- It’s likely that the lions were just as injured after this encounter as the buffalo!
If you think that the predator-prey relationship is all about a timid animal being overpowered by a ferocious predator – think again. As the video at the bottom of this page shows, many prey can and do fight back. In this extraordinary footage captured in Africa, we see a pride of lionesses trying to drag a buffalo onto the floor. There are six or seven lions and just one buffalo – but help is on the way!
Is It Normal Behavior For Lionesses To Hunt?
Lions are very social animals and live in prides that are mainly made up of females and their offspring. Most of the hunting is done by the lionesses who then share the catch with the one or two males that are associated with the pride. Male lions do hunt as well but often do it alone or with one other male.
By hunting as a group, the lionesses give themselves the best chance of bringing down larger prey. But as you see here, even that does not always work. Most female lions weigh under 400 pounds but a buffalo can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. They are also unpredictable, quite grumpy and have large and sharp horns that can tear into a lion’s flesh.
Is It Normal Behavior For Buffalo To Defend Themselves?
Buffalos are very able and willing to defend themselves against lions and other predators. They also live in groups of females – they are called herds. Buffalo have a great sense of smell and very rarely rest so they are always alert for the approach of lions.
Their most useful defensive tactic is to stick together. Lions would not be prepared to take on a whole herd. Their only hope is to isolate one animal and then move in for the kill.
Buffalos have large horns and strong neck muscles, they can literally toss a lion in the air by swinging their head. For this reason, most lions try to attack them from behind – this reduces the risk of injury for the lion.
Most importantly, buffalo stick up for each other! If an individual can stay on its feet long enough for help to arrive it stands a good chance of surviving. It’s likely that the lions were just as injured after this encounter as the buffalo!
Be Sure You Check Out The Video Below!
How Large are Lions and Buffalo? Does Size Matter?
Let’s look at the sizes of these two types of animals. A male lion typically weighs 330 to 550 pounds, while his female counterpart weighs 260 to 400 pounds. Their height only differs by half a foot–males average 3.5-4 feet tall vs. 3-3.5 feet for females. Compare that to the water buffalo. Its average height is from 4 to 5.6 feet tall, while its weight is typically 930 to 2200 pounds.
It would be very challenging, but not impossible, for a lone lion to take down a water buffalo. The risk to the lion would be the fact that the buffalo is indeed much larger, stronger, and has horns that can puncture an attacker. The lion faces possible injury from wounds or being trampled or kicked by the buffalo.
However, a pride of lions is a whole other story. They can work together collectively to conquer a large animal like a buffalo by targeting different parts of its body. In the video, you see just one lion grabbing onto the buffaloe’s hip. What if another had the other side, one grabbed a leg, and another jumped on its back? The tables would turn, so to speak. While buffalo are safer in numbers (not getting separated from the herd), lions are stronger in numbers through teamwork.
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