Neither the hyena nor the African lion backs down easily when the two are fighting. Hyenas are known to snatch food from lions. This happens the few minutes when a lion has just hunted and is tired from the chase.
African Lion Facts and information
- Also simply referred to as lion.
- Scientific name is Panthera leo.
- Two sub-species exist; African lions and Asiatic lions.
- Asiatic lions are found in India while African lions are found in the grassland/woodland savannah and forests of East, central and southern Africa.
- Countries where African lions can be found include but are not limited to Central African Republic, Angola, Kenya, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Tanzania and Botswana.
- Asiatic lions are bigger than the African ones.
- Male African lions are bigger than female ones.
- Mature male African lions weigh between 150 and 250 kg.
- Mature female African lions weigh between 120 and 180 kg.
- Their length is between 1.4 and 3 meters.
- Shoulder height is between 1 and 1.2 meters.
- The tail of an African lion is between 0.7 and 1 m long.
- Male lions are bigger than female ones.
- Male lions are easily distinguishable by the mane around their head.
- Carnivorous animals that feed on zebras, wildebeest, goat, antelopes, buffaloes and other wild and domesticated animals.
- Social animals that live in groups. A pride of lions can have as many as 40 members consisting of about 3 mature males, several females and cubs.
- Sexual maturity age is between 3 and 4 years.
- Gestation period is 4 months.
- At birth the cubs are about 1.5 kg.
- Biggest threat to their survival is human activity including hunting.
- Their population has significantly dwindled over the years and currently stands at between 30,000 and 100,000.
- With a population of slightly more than 300, Asiatic lions are categorized as endangered species.
- Female lions normally do the hunting while the males protect the pride.
- The bodies of lions and tigers are so similar that it would be almost impossible to differentiate them if the fur was to be shaved or the skin removed.
- Can leap for up to 11 meters when running.
- Have a top speed of about 80 km/h.
- Color is yellow-gold.
- They are the only social animals in the cat family.
- A lion roar can be heard as far as 8 km away.
- Gestation period is 3.5 months.
- Gives birth once every two years.
- Females give birth to not more than 4 cabs in each cycle.
- About 80% of cubs do not survive for more than 2 years.
- Lifespan in the wild is 16 years while in captivity it is about 20 years. Most males do not live for more than 12 years.
- Normally sleep for 16 to 20 hours per day.
Hyenas Facts and Information
- Scientific name is Crocuta crocuta.
- There are 3 distinct species of hyenas including the stripped, brown and spotted hyena.
- Largest species is the spotted hyena.
- Natural predators include lions and hunting dogs.
- Are cannibalistic in nature i.e. they eat their own species.
- Communicate with each other using a combination of different sounds, signals and postures.
- Territorial animals that use a strong smelling anal dropping to mark their territories.
- Are nocturnal i.e. rest during the day and hunt at night.
- Males are smaller than females.
- Females dominate and are more aggressive than males.
- Live a social life in groups of up to 80 members headed by an alpha female.
- Can grow to a height of 0.9m, length of more than 1.5m and weigh up to 80kg.
- They mostly scavenge but sometimes also hunt.
- Have strong jaws capable of gnashing bones and ensuring they eat all parts of their prey.
- Lifespan in the wilderness is about 12 years while in captivity they can live for up to 25 years.
- Gestation period is between 90 and 110 days.
- Females give birth to a maximum of 4 cubs.
- Sometimes cubs kill each other while fighting for food from their mother.
- Weaning age is about 1 and a half years.
- Genitalia of both male and female hyenas are almost similar on the outward.
- Females have a ‘penis-like’ genitalia that consists of an extruded clitoris and are not categorized as hermaphrodites.
- They easily adapt to and can be found in different climatic/geographic areas mostly in the African savannah, mountains, desert etc.
- Though looking more like dogs, their genetic composition is closer to cats than dogs.
- Very intelligent animals. Some are more intelligent than chimpanzees.
Hyenas and the African Lion Comparison
|Animals|| African Lion|| Striped Hyena|
|Average Head & Body Length||6 ft 1 inch||33 to 51 inch|
|Tail Length||3 ft 2 inch||9.8 to 15.7 inch|
|Shoulder Height||3 ft 8 inch||24–31 inch|
|Average Weight||180 kg||35 kg|
|Area||Africa||North and East Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Indian Subcontinent|
|Average Life Span||13 years||12 years|
The duel between Hyenas vs African Lion
Lions always emerge as winners whenever they battle it out with Hyenas. The African lion is a powerful creature with amazing aerodynamic moves that make it impossible to be waylaid by hyenas. When fighting, the lion normally pounces on the hyena, bites it on the neck before suffocating it to death.
Even though hyenas lose these fights, they are not easy to thrash. They have powerful jaws that can break a lion into two. The grip of a hyena jaw is so strong that it is estimated to be equal to more than one ton. The Hyena will also put up a big fight and leave the lion with injuries.
A simple mistake by the lion could also get it killed as a hyena is not a creature than can easily let go. The only chance that a hyena has of winning is if it is fighting with an old, sick or young lion. Sometimes several hyenas attack a solitary lion and therefore overpowering the lion. However, the speed with which an African lion moves makes it hard to catch it, let alone kill it.