Out of the long grass he came. This magnificent lion, with his eyes on the prize and ignoring both the vehicle and its occupants. We sat spellbound and watched as predator and prey
FYI: The roar of a lion can be heard from up to 8km away.
It seems that this eland died of natural causes and the lion came across it while coming to drink. The carcass was certainly NOT going to go to waste and this lion decided, that even though they had dispatched a zebra less than 24 hours before finding this, it would be dragged out of this open space and into the shade where they could all settle down and enjoy an unexpected meal. in order that it did not go to waste and to provide a meal for the resident lion pride. The pride behaviour reflected the fact they were relatively full as there was none of the squabbling or dominance behaviour that I was expecting.
Did you know: An eland cow can weigh between 300-600kg, yet this lion was able to drag it without too much effort on his part.
Although the lion had started to drag the carcass towards the nearby shelter of the long grass and surrounding vegetation, it took two of the females to complete the task. He just seemed to give up as if it was all too much effort on his part. He was already lying in the shade of a nearby tree, watching their efforts to get the ‘meal’ to cooperate and not make dragging it such an issue.
And it was the females that started gnawing on the softer parts of the eland. And unlike the usual vocalization around a kill, this took place in almost total silence, which was rather disconcerting.
Fun Fact #234: Lions can consume up to 8kg per day and the lionesses up to 5kg daily.
Finally, the male joined in and decided that the rear of the eland was the best place to start as far as he was concerned. He did not stay for too long as he seemed to have his mind more on a snooze and a drink than actually tucking into a meal. He was probably still full from his zebra kill the day before.
Notice the way the edges of this entry point are chewed in an almost perfect ellipse, with the edges all being at the same angle and the stomach, at this point, was still intact.
Did you know? Although they usually eat every day, lions can survive without food for up to 14 days and without water for a maximum of 4 days. To compensate for a lack of water they have been known to eat plants that have a high moisture content.
Stay away…this was directed at us and not at any of the pride females. The young male that hangs around the periphery of the pride was nowhere to be seen while we were watching, but he might have arrived after we left.
At first, I thought that this was another male, but I was informed by the guide that it was, in fact, a 14-year old female. It seems that lionesses, as they age, much like humans start growing hair in places where it had not grown previously. Rather disconcerting for humans, but she seems to be relatively happy and healthy.
FYI: Lions can live up to 15 years in the wild and as long as 25-30 years in captivity. Given the stress of trying to survive, most lions do not die of old age.
“What a good looking boy I am! And as far as the females are concerned, it was me that supplied the meal”.
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