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Do Lions Eat Snakes?

Lions don’t usually eat snakes. Although a lion might have the capacity to kill a snake, it’s not worth their time as snakes are so small.

Lion licking its lips
A lion’s diet is made up mostly of mammals, and they don’t usually eat snakes

Lions are carnivores. To be specific, they are generalist carnivores. They are apex predators and keystone species in their environment.  

Do Lions Eat Venomous Snakes?

No, lions do not eat venomous snakes. If anything, it is the other way around. Lions know that venomous snakes can kill them, and they try to avoid confrontation. 

Do Lions Fight Snakes?

Yes, they do. There is a recording of this incident where two lionesses ganged up against a python. The python tried to attack a lioness and got it. However, another lioness came to the rescue. Eventually, both lionesses killed the python and ate it. 

An incident like this is rare. Lions do not particularly hunt snakes in the wild. Pythons, on the other hand, would eat small cats.  

Do Lions Keep Snakes Away?

Although lions don’t eat snakes, they still recognize that snakes pose a threat to them and may attack any snakes that approach them. In this way, a lion may scare away any snakes from the area.

On the other hand, some snakes such as the giant African rock python have been known to a attacked and kill big cats including leopards.

Are Lions Immune to Snake Venom?

Lions are not immune to snake venom. A lot of venomous snakes in Asia and Africa have enough potency to kill an adult lion. 

Some of the snakes that have the most powerful venom are the cobra and the black mamba. They have a presence in areas where lions live.

Because these snakes can kill an adult human and elephant, there is no doubt that a bite from them will also kill a lion.

There are some animals in the wild that have developed immunity from snake venom. Some of these animals include skunks, opossums, hedgehogs, and even pigs.

Do Lions have Venom or Rabies?

Lions do not have venom, but they can become infected with rabies if they come into contact with wild dogs.

In 2019, there were cases of stray dogs around the Kruger National Park in South Africa. These dogs carried the rabies virus with them. As such, they are a threat to other animals in the park, including lions. 

Do Snakes Eat Lions?

Snakes do not eat lions, however, there are reported cases where snakes attacked other big cats. Theoretically, very large pythons could grow large enough that a lion would not be a far-fetched target. 

While it is not unusual for pythons to eat large prey, people seldom see them attack big cats. The reason behind this is that big cats are agile. They are quick to respond, and pythons are not likely to succeed hunting them. 

One possible exception to this is when a lion is drinking water. If a python is lying in wait, this ambush can work if the python pulls the lion into the water and drown it.

What Do Lions Eat?

Lions prey on many animals, especially large-hoofed mammals. Their most common prey is zebra and antelope. 

Depending on their habitat, they have to make do with what they have. For example, the Asiatic lion eats boar, buffalo, and deer. However, they do not hunt giraffes or zebras because these animals are not present in Asia. 

Typically, lions hunt easy prey. Their priority on a hunt is to target those that are sick, weak, old, or injured. They orchestrate their hunt to succeed. 

Some examples of animals lions commonly eat

  • Wildebeest
  • Ungulates
  • African buffalo
  • Giraffe
  • Zebra
  • Warthog
  • Elephants
  • Rhinoceroses

An ungulate is a hoofed mammal. In the wild, there are many species of this type of animal. They are also huge. Lions prefer to hunt them because one kill should be enough to feed a tribe.

Despite their organized hunt, lions only succeed 25% of the time. Their hunting success is dependent on the number of lions in the pride. A bigger pride has better chances of survival than a small one.

A lion watching zebra in the distance
Lion primarily eat other mammals, including zebra, antelope, and wildebeest.

Can Snakes Kill Lions?

Yes, snakes can kill lions. Large constrictors like the python or highly venomous snakes like the black mamba could kill a lion, either through constriction or venom.

However, killing a lion takes timing. Lions are agile, so a black mamba may not hit it at the first strike. If a lion persists, then the black mamba or cobra may succeed and kill the lion. 

Could a Snake Eat a Lion?

Although there is no record of any snake ever eating an adult lion, it is not far from reality. Pythons can swallow a crocodile, so eating a small lion cub is not that far-fetched. 

Read More: What Eats Lions? (Natural Predators of Lions)

Summary: Do Lions Eat Snakes?

Lions do not eat snakes. If anything, they are merely curious. There are rare instances when lions would attack and eat a python, but it is not part of their regular diet. Lions prefer to hunt big animals like ungulates. When they hunt, they hunt for the pride.

Lions are not immune to snake venom. There are recorded incidents of snakes killing a lion. On all these occasions, the snakes are venomous, and the lion was at the bad end of the battle.  

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