Lions are dubbed the kings of the jungle. Impressive stealth paired with strong jaws truly does put you on top of the food chain. They are carnivorous predators that feed only on the meat of animals, such as antelopes, zebras, leopards, birds, and even crocodiles. Despite being superior hunters, other animals still risk intimidating lions, especially when they are alone. One such animal is the hyena.
As seen in the video below, a lion was savoring its kill in the grasslands of Kruger National Park when a cackle of hyenas interrupted his meal, trying to chase him away. They are known for their obnoxious noises, which sound similar to the high-pitched laughter of a human. This is also the reason behind the “cackle of hyenas,” a name they are referred to when they are in groups. At first, the lion tried a threatening retaliation by running after them, but it did little to stop the scavengers. The hyenas continued to circle the lion and tried intimidating him to leave his kill for them to feast on. Much to their disappointment, the feline settled and carried on eating unbothered despite the continuous noise around him.
As time progressed, some hyenas got bold and risked going near the lion. It only took him a few fearsome stomps to chase them away. However, one can only last long with the insistent shrill sounds that numerous hyenas simultaneously produce. How can a feline enjoy a supposedly savory meal while being in such a state? In the end, the lion got up completely with his food in his jaws and turned away from the importunate creatures. The hyenas, then, settled on feasting on the remnants of his kill.
Why Do Hyenas Sound Like They Are Always Laughing?
While in humans, high-pitched noises like giggles mean fun and enjoyment, in hyenas, it means threats and danger. Hyenas are known for two things: their skill for scavenging and their sounds that are eerily similar to human laughter. However, these noises do not mean they are having the best time of their lives, rather it means they are facing a potential danger that might lead to their demise. Moreover, they also use them to communicate with the other hyenas around them. They can mean a lot of things, ranging from indication of submission or aggression to determination of their social rank in their group, but they can never mean joy and excitement.
Do Lions Prey on Hyenas?
Surprisingly, lions do not munch on hyenas. They are both considered top predators, which lessens the possibility of them hunting each other. Hyenas are also carnivores with their diet consisting of decaying meat of animals, therefore lions do not find them appetizing. In some circumstances, they might fight and kill each other when threatened, but the felines are rarely observed eating the others’ carcasses. The only exception is an old and weak lion, which may eat a hyena when food is scarce.
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- Kara Rogers, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/story/do-hyenas-really-laugh
- Bryan Haines, Available here: https://storyteller.travel/hyena-laugh/
- Daniel Iseli, Available here: https://www.animalfoodplanet.com/do-lions-eat-hyenas/