What Are Lions Afraid Of? (Lions’ Enemies and Threats)

We always see lions as one of the bravest animals in the jungle, and it’s why we call them the kings. However, with this idea, it may pass in your mind if these animals have anything to fear. Thus, you may ask:

What are lions afraid of? In general, lions don’t hunt and run without any fear at all. These animals are afraid of large animals such as elephants and hippos. Moreover, they can be afraid of the other prey since all animals would resist their attacks. However, all these fears would get overpowered by their hunger.

Lions are indeed one of the bravest animals around, and they need such bravery to hunt prey that can be stronger or faster than them. The thing about lions is that they are more dangerous when they are starving since they don’t pick prey and attack anything hungry.

In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth take on some particular animals and how lions feel about them, whether they are afraid or not. This way, you can understand how lions interact with other animals and sense how they hunt.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Do lions feel fear?

As I said earlier, lions may be brave animals, but they still fear other animals.

One thing to note is that lions are the same as other animals. What I mean is that these brave big cats also act on instinct.

Thus, they would pursue other animals to eat and survive when they’re hungry. At the same time, they would also try to resist competition and even run away if they feel in danger.

If there’s something that sets them apart from other animals, it’s that they aren’t afraid to hunt prey animals that are larger than them. 

Some predators hold back when they see large mammals such as elephants, hippos, and giraffes. However, lions don’t seem to feel fear against massive prey. 

Are lions brave?

We see lions as brave animals, and they live up to our expectations by the way they live.

As I said, lions act on instinct like other animals. It means that they don’t feel brave or feel fear like we do.

However, since lions aren’t afraid to hunt larger prey and take on any challenge, we can say lions are brave. 

What are lions’ weaknesses?

Although we see lions as the kings in the wild, they still have weaknesses like all other animals.

For instance, when it comes to strength and speed, they can do well, but many animals can do better.

As a result, their hunt isn’t always a success. Some animals can outrun them, and some can even put them to flight or force them to retreat.

If there’s one notable weakness to these animals, that would be diseases and attacks from their prey.

Some lions usually die in the wild due to diseases. They can also receive fatal blows from the prey they hunt. For example, a kick from an animal’s hooves can hurt them so much. 

What do lions do when scared?

Like other cats, lions usually wave their tails back and forth should they ever feel any threat.

When lions hunt, they try to be as still as possible that even their tails stop swinging. 

Thus, when they feel threatened, a swinging tail means they are afraid. However, it’s not the same when lions are hungry, as they won’t get threatened by any animal. 

Are lions afraid of fire?

Lions in the wild are usually not afraid of fire. Instead, fire may even attract them and hunt towards it.

Thus, if you ever get chased by a lion (which I hope not), swinging a torch to ward it off won’t do you good. Moreover, lions can run for 50 miles per hour, and their roar will give you a nightmare. 

Related: Do Lions Have Predators?

Do lions fear humans?

Lions do not fear humans, and they would charge at you if they see you, especially if they are hungry. 

Wanderers in the wild always try their best to stay at a safe distance away from these animals.

The reason is that there’s pretty much nothing you can do once they spot you and charge at you. 

Are lions afraid of snakes?

Snakes might be dangerous in the wild, but lions tend to be more so. Thus, they won’t fear snakes if they encounter one. 

The only problem is that some snakes have venom, which can harm a lion if they ever get bitten.

However, the same goes for snakes. A single bite or stomp from a lion can quickly crush their heads off. 

Are lions afraid of lionesses?

Lions are afraid of their female counterparts, which are the lionesses. 

Lions can be king of the jungle, but their female counterparts can be more fierce than them.

For this reason, lions can fear these lionesses and may not win a fight against them. 

Are lions afraid of hyenas?

Hyenas are one of the usual enemies of lions, and they can put lions to flight. In short, some instances may lead to lions being afraid of hyenas, forcing themselves to retreat. 

While a one-on-one fight may give the upper hand to lions, hyenas usually come in large packs.

Lions also come in packs, but they don’t have that many members for a hunt. Thus, the typical setting would be lions surrounded by hyenas. 

Are lions afraid of tigers?

Lions are not afraid of tigers, though they retreat in some cases when a tiger confronts them.

The thing about tigers and lions is that the former are solitary animals, while the latter are social.

In short, it means lions always have the pride to support them, while a tiger usually hunts alone. 

Despite that, a one-on-one fight would always be an upper and for the tiger. 

lion and tiger

Are lions scared of hippos?

Lions are not scared of hippos, but they can retreat if they get hurt by this large mammal.

Hippos can be enticing prey for lions due to their massive size. However, they would get challenged once they start hunting this giant herbivore.

The massive body of a hippo can be invulnerable to a lion’s attack. Moreover, the brute strength of these giant animals can harm a lion so severely.

Instances happen when a lion gets killed by a hippo. It rarely happens because lions are fast enough to retreat against their slow speed. 

Are lions afraid of bees?

Bees are also dangerous if disturbed. It’s pretty rare for any lion to disturb a swarm of bees.

Still, if it ever happens, a lion should start feeling fear for the bees, as a swarm can put them to flight. 

Are lions afraid of elephants?

Elephants are also one of the mammals that lions fear the most. It’s all due to this animal’s massive size.

From a distance, the sight of an elephant can be enticing to a lion. However, lions usually don’t attack these animals due to their size.

Of course, it’s a different thing when they haven’t eaten for days. When starving, lions don’t pick their target and will hunt even the massive elephant around. 

lion and elephant

Are lions afraid of giraffes?

Giraffes are also one of the noticeable prey for lions due to their towering height. Thus, lions are not afraid of giraffes.

While they have enormous and tall bodies, giraffes don’t become an exception to a lion’s potential meal.

While lions are not afraid of giraffes, they can be challenging prey to hunt because they can’t reach a giraffe’s vital spot.

Lions hunt this animal by tackling it, so it falls. Once it does, it’s the time when they start killing this tall fellow. 


So, what are lions afraid of? In general, lions don’t hunt and run without any fear at all. Like other animals, they are also afraid of something. For instance, lions are afraid of large animals such as elephants and hippos. 

Moreover, they can be afraid of the other prey since all animals would resist their attacks. However, all these fears would get overpowered by their hunger. When they haven’t eaten for days, lions won’t be picky and attack anything they see.


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