How Often Do Lions Eat? (And When They Eat)

Lions are one of the most active animals around due to being predators and efficient hunters. For this reason, they compensate by a tremendous amount of sleeping and eating. As hunters running all day, you may wonder about their eating habits. Thus, you may ask:

How often do lions eat? Like all animals in the wild, lions don’t eat on a tight schedule, but they usually eat every three to four days. Moreover, they need at least 15-25 pounds of meat per day. Still, they can survive without food for more than a week, then eat a hundred pounds of meat for a single meal.

Lions in the wild eat depending on their hunt and what they hunt. Since their prey varies, there are days when they don’t get to eat, while there are days when they do eat a lot. It’s not like captive lions where there is a regular supply of food for them.

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth look at a lion’s diet, particularly at how often and how much they feed. This way, you can understand another side of their lifestyle and make sense of how they survive.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

How many meals does a lion have in a day?

As I said earlier, a lion in the wild doesn’t have a regular eating schedule, and their food depends on what they find available. It also includes the fact that they need to hunt it down, which they usually do.

In general, a lion needs to have at least 15 to 25 pounds of food per day. While they do need such, they can go for days without food and eat around a hundred pounds in a single meal.

It shows that animals in the wild don’t have a steady meal source, and they depend on their hunting and searching efforts to survive.

In captivity, lions usually eat once a day, with 10 to 25 pounds of food per day.

Since they don’t run and roam all the time, they don’t necessarily feed on a hundred pounds for a meal.

It also depends on the age and gender of lions. The males are usually the heavy eaters. On the other hand, the females need a lesser amount of food.

When do lions eat?

As I said, lions do eat whenever they find an available prey to hunt. If they find a big prey with plenty of meat, they can stop hunting and survive for more than a week without food.

For this reason, lions do eat when they feel the need to do so. However, in general, they need to eat around 10-25 pounds of food per day.

Thus, if they can’t eat daily, they would hunt and eat quite a lot for a single day.

How often do lions eat in captivity?

Lions in captivity differ from those in the wild in terms of eating schedule.

Since captive lions have someone who gives them food, they usually eat once a day, ranging from 15 to 25 pounds.

The caretakers depend on the amount of food on their gender and age. They give lesser food for females and more for males.

Since these lions don’t run and hunt for food, they tend to sleep more and don’t need the same amount of food as wild lions do.

lions eating schedule

How long can lions go without eating?

Lions can go for as long as 14 days without eating. Since they live in the wild, the food source varies all the time.

In the wild, lions depend on the availability of prey and the success of their hunt. For this reason, lions adapt and tune their bodies to survive.

Lions need at least 15-25 pounds of food per day. However, since they don’t get to eat all the time, it depends entirely.

Sometimes, lions get to eat large animals like giraffes and spend days without eating or hunting afterward.

In some cases, they can hunt small animals, which means their hunger can come back quicker, forcing them to hunt after a day or two.

Do lions only kill when hungry?

Lions are animals that don’t waste energy. Thus, they don’t kill or hunt their prey if they don’t need to. In short, lions typically hunt and kill when they are hungry.

When they can’t find available prey to hunt, they go for plant-based food as alternatives, but only a small amount is enough for them to last for the day.

For instance, when they can’t find a single prey, they can eat fallen fruits and even carrion or dead animal meat.

If they become hungrier, it’ll force them to have a more excellent hunting drive. As a result, the lion pride may hunt bigger prey.

How often do lions eat humans?

Humans also fall victim to a lion’s hunger. In general, some estimates show that 250 people get killed by lions once a year.

Most of the human victims of lions are wandering in the wild either by accident or intentional.

For this reason, safaris and other biomes under local governments always have mandates to protect people from these accidents.

The government and authorities typically have danger zones for areas where lions roam.

With such mandates, they try to lessen the casualties brought by these might animals.


So, how often do lions eat? Like all animals in the wild, lions don’t eat on a tight schedule. In general, lions usually eat every three to four days. It all depends on how much meat they eat from a successful hunt. They can go for days without hunting if they eat large prey. Or, they can search and hunt every day if they only get small animals.

In general, lions can last for 14 days without eating, or they can feed around 15-25 pounds of food per day. If they starve, they become aggressive enough to pursue larger animals and eat as much as a hundred pounds or more in a single meal.


Image credits – Canva

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I'm David, and safari has been my passion since I was a little boy - I grew up in South Africa. I love to help spread knowledge about safari, so let me know if you have any questions. Read more