Some animals eat grass and plants. Some eat insects and other small creatures. But some are strong, fearsome hunters that feed on large animals even bigger than themselves. Let’s take a look at the mightiest of the meat eaters, the lion.

A lion's roar. Look at those teeth!
 
Lionesses reseting in a tree on a hot afternoon.
Hunting is mostly at night.
 
Lion's are the cats that live in large groups.
Females hunt and care for the cubs.
 
Croching low, a lioness stalks its prey.
 
 
The lion's tawny color provides excellent
camouflage in the scrorched African grass.
 

A powerful African water buffalo might weigh 600 lbs.

 
The lion is called king, but it knows its match. It will run away from an elephant, or a rhino (below). A pack of hyenas could kill a solitary lion.

Mighty Carnivore

Meat eating animals are called carnivores. The strongest and most fearsome of them all is the lion. Big and powerful, lions can weigh up to 550 pounds! Their legs are tremendously strong. Their claws are razor sharp. Their jaws are like steel, and their fangs are deadly.
It is amazing how perfectly they
are created.

Majestic Look

The lion is called the king of the forest, and it looks the part. The thick shaggy mane of hair around its head makes the male lion look even larger than it really is, and frightens away enemies. It also protects the lion during a fight. And when a lion roars to show its power and proclaim its rulership, the roar can be heard miles away.

Family pride

Lions are the only cats that live in family groups, called a pride. The pride may grow to have 30 members. There may be four to twelve females who are all related to one another, and one to four (not related) males. The male lion rules over the pride, and protects it from intruders. The females raise the young, and hunt for food. If a rival lion wants to take over, there will be a tremendous fight. Other male lions in the pride will help battle the newcomer.

The Lion's Share

Most of the day, lions just lie around resting up. But at night, when it is cool, the females go out to hunt. Even though the females kill the prey, the males get to eat first. Then the females. Then the cubs. A male needs 15 pounds of meat a day. But if he is hungry, he can eat five or ten times that amount.

Where lions live

Lions used to live in many parts of the world: Africa, India, Israel, the Far East, even in Europe. Today lions are an endangered species. A few hundred may be found in a nature preserve in north-western India, and about 50,000 live in the grasslands and forests of East Africa, West Africa, and South Africa.

Incredible Eyesight

Lions are nocturnal hunters. Like other cats, they have unbelievable eyesight, and can see in the dark ten times better than people. At the back of their eyes they have a unique layer of tissue that reflects light back like a mirror. This is also the reason why cats’ eyes glow in the dark.

On the Hunt

Since lionesses hunt in packs, they can attack animals even larger and faster than themselves. Slowly, silently, the lionesses creep towards the prey. Crouching low in the tall grass, their golden yellow fur blends in with the scorched grassland, providing perfect camouflage.

When one of the lionesses is
close enough to the prey, it will
leap out. Alarmed, the animal will
turn and run for its life, but other lionesses are waiting. As the
animal runs toward them, they
dash out to attack.

The threatened animal will swerve again to avoid the danger.
If it is fast enough, it might escape.

A lioness can easily knock down a 400 pound zebra or a wildebeest with a powerful blow of its paw. Then it will try to grab the animal by the neck and drag it to the ground. A savage bite to the throat will often kill the prey instantly.

But the lioness must be careful.
A solid kick from a zebra’s hoof can smash its skull or break its jaw.

how lions eat

Lions have large, sharp, side teeth, with which they rip large chunks of meat off the killed animal. The lion’s tongue is rough, with many tiny hooks that can tear meat off the bone.

Lions don’t chew. They swallow large chunks of meat, and their digestive system breaks it down.

Usually, lions only eat every other day, when they are hungry.

favorite foods

Lions prefer to attack medium sized animals such as zebra, antelope, water buffalo, gazelle, or wildebeest. But if food is scarce, they will eat fish, birds, snakes, pigs, crocodiles or rodents.

LIONS IN THE TORAH

Lions, along with all the other animals, were created on the first Thursday, the fifth day of Creation.

Of course, the lion and its mate were in the ark with Noach, and for that year, they lived peacefully with all the other animals. Once, however, Noach was late delivering the lion its food, and received an angry blow as a result.

In Yaacov’s blessings to his children, Yehuda is compared to a lion, for he was the mightiest of the sons and their leader (Beraishis 48:9).

Prophetically, Yaacov’s blessing also hints of the heroic deeds of Dovid HaMelech, who comes from the tribe of Yehuda. When Shaul was still king, Dovid was like ‘a lion lying down,’ and saved the Jewish people from Goliath.

But when Dovid was crowned king of Israel, like ‘the lion that rises up,’ he conquered all the enemies of the Jewish people, and built the Bais HaMikdosh. So too, his descendent, the righteous King Moshiach, will build the 3rd Bais HaMikdosh, and defeat all the enemies of G‑d and Torah, including even our ultimate enemy, the Yetzer Hara.

Additionally, the Altar (the mizbayach) in the Bais HaMikdosh, and the Bais HaMikdosh itself, are both compared to a lion, and so is Hashem!

Lions of course, also remind us of the fourth plague with which Hashem punished the Egyptians.

How terrifying it must have been when hungry lions roamed the streets of Egypt, together with leopards, and tigers, snakes and gorillas, and other ferocious beasts of the jungle.

The Egyptians had sent Jewish slaves to capture these wild animals for their zoos. Now they were being punished measure for measure.

In the future, when Moshiach comes, the nations of the world will live at peace, and lions too will again live together peacefully with all other animals, as it was in the Ark of Noach.