Do Lions Eat Snakes? (Or The Other Way Around)

Do Lions Eat Snakes (Or The Other Way Around)

A lion is popularly known as the “king of the jungle” due to its strength, zero fear, and ability to dominate its environment.

These jungle monarchs are obligate carnivores and apex predators with excellent hunting skills that will feed on almost any animal to thrive, but snakes are not usually their first choice.

With the size advantage, speed, and some physical qualities, lions can eat snakes if they so wish, but they do not do this too often as some snakes are venomous, so they avoid confrontation with them.

Also, snakes do not usually feed on lions, but there have been cases where giant venomous snakes have attacked and fed on a lion.

Do Lions Eat Snakes?

A lion cannot digest plants properly because it is more of a flesh-eater than a plant-eater.

About 70% of its regular meal consists of meat, but its diet doesn’t include snakes. So, it’s safe to conclude that lions do not eat snakes.

Lions are proud animals, and they show this off when they hunt. They’d sometimes prefer to go after big prey than smaller ones like snakes.

Lions and many other animals instinctively know that snakes signify danger, whether venomous or not and so will avoid confrontation with the reptile.

And since a lion is not immune to a snake’s venom, it knows better than to run after one.

Can a Lion Fight and Kill a Snake?

Yes, a lion can fight and kill a snake. It has sharp senses, strength, and the capacity to hunt a snake, stage it in a fight and kill it eventually.

But would it go through all that stress because it feels like it? The answer is no.

Snakes like the cobra and python are dangerous and powerful animals, but they are nothing compared to lions. 

At Tata Zoo in Jamshedpur, India, two animal keepers reportedly witnessed a lion attack and kill a snake that had entered their enclosure with the lioness initiating the fight by pouncing on the snake and catching its neck.

In contrast, the lion grabbed the snake’s tail, and together the two of them cut the snake into two pieces. Though they won the fight, the two lions suffered snakebites too.

How Do Lions Attack Snakes?

A lion will attack a snake by either biting and crushing its head and neck or suffocating it by clasping its strong jaws around the snake’s throat.

What Can Lions Eat?

Young Lion Eating Prey

Lions can eat quite a lot, and since their meals are exclusively meat, they have a variety of animals on their food menu, so they don’t starve.

Some of the animals lions will eat include:

  • Zebra
  • Impala
  • Warthog
  • Giraffe
  • Elephant
  • Hippopotamus
  • Antelope
  • Wildebeest
  • Pigs
  • Lizards
  • Fish
  • Bird
  • Insect
  • Mice
  • Carrions, etc.

What lions would eat in the wild differ from what they’ll eat in captivity.

In the wild, lions will depend on whatever is available, and it helps that they’re no picky eaters.

They have slightly different needs from wild lions, so their meals will contain fewer calories.

Wild lions will feast on wildebeests, boars, rhinoceros, Impala, giraffe, buffalo, deer, etc.

In contrast, lions will mainly feed on commercially sourced meat and meat mixes in captivity, bones, and even domestic cat food.

Do Snakes Eat Lions?

Snake Eating Deer

No, snakes do not eat lions. But there have been cases of snakes attacking and killing lions, especially their cubs.

Some species of snakes, like pythons, will love to hunt lions even though they won’t succeed because lions are fast and intelligent animals that would escape or fight back.

According to a report, an Asiatic lion believed to be 13–15 years old was attacked and bitten by a venomous snake that forest officers suspect was from the viper family because of the hemotoxic venom.

Lions are not part of a snake’s diet as it’s most likely to feed on other animals. Examples of other animals that snakes eat include:

  • Fishes
  • Insects
  • Lizards
  • Eggs
  • Small mammals
  • Amphibians (frogs or toads)
  • Earthworms
  • Slugs
  • Rabbits
  • Other snakes
  • Birds, etc.

Can a Snake Bite and Kill a Lion?

Yes, a venomous snake’s bite is deadly and can kill a lion. Hence, lions are not resistant to a snake’s venom.

If bitten without quick medical help, they may not be able to survive it.

Are there Snakes that Hunts Lions?

Of course, yes! Some snakes will most likely hunt and kill lions and other big cats if the conditions are right.

Some of these snakes with potent venoms enough to kill a lion include:

  • Anaconda
  • Keelback
  • Mamba
  • Cobra
  • Coral snake
  • Rattlesnake

Snake vs. Lion: Who Would Win in a Fight?

Lion vs. Snake - Who Would Win a Fight

A lion is more lethal than a snake. Let’s not forget to take into account factors like the size, speed, and hunting prowess of both creatures while deciding who would prevail in a lion vs. snake combat.

We’ll compare these elements and give each of these dangerous creatures a benefit. 

  • Size: Although they are not as long as many snakes, lions are bigger than most. In a fight, the larger opponent has a greater chance of winning.
  • Movement: Lions are speed machines that move ten times as quickly as snakes. Being among the fastest animals in the world, they can use their speed to their advantage once more.
  • Fighting abilities: A lion’s long, sharp claws and teeth are capable of giving an opponent a bone-crushing bite that instantly ends the combat. They may forcefully use their strong paws to strike their prey and possibly cause them to stumble. While snakes only have one attack strategy—biting their prey and injecting their lethal venom.

So who do you predict will prevail? Obviously, a lion. It has a lot of benefits that will help it win.

Even if a snake bites a lion and injects its potent venom into it, it would have time to kill it before it dies. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do lions keep snakes away?

Because a lion knows snakes threaten its existence, it will go to great lengths to keep snakes away from itself. Because they dislike being disturbed, they may attack serpents that come too close.

Are lions immune to a snake’s venom?

No, a lion is not resistant to the venom of snakes, unlike animals such as hedgehogs, mongooses, badgers, and opossums, which are known to be immune to a dose of snake venom.

There have been documented cases of snakes killing lions. The lion was on the losing end of the combat on each of these times because the snakes were poisonous.

Can a lion survive a snake’s bite?

Without prompt treatment, a lion that a toxic or venomous snake has bitten has no chance of surviving. Lions are susceptible to the poison of snakes, and the snake’s fangs can pierce their skin.

Can a lion eat other lions?

In certain circumstances, lions will eat other lions due to a desperate need for food, competition, or the removal of lion cubs by a previous male from a newly obtained pride of lions.

Lions generally do not seek out and cannibalize other lions, unless food is scarce. They mostly kill but do not eat.

Bottom Line

So, do lions eat snakes or the other way round? Lions can consume almost any animal that comes their way.

They don’t eat snakes very often, but if snakes approach their territory, they will attack and kill them.

While a venomous snake could kill a lion, the lion is more likely to win a fight.

This is due to the fact that lions are larger, quicker, and more powerful than snakes.