Hyenas and lions are both large carnivores that live in Sub-Saharan Africa. These beasts are known to hunt together in groups called prides. They’re also very similar in size and build. While hyenas tend to be slightly smaller, they do have longer legs and larger ears.
Both of these animals are ferocious predators that kill prey up to twice their size. However, while hyenas typically hunt alone, lions generally work in packs. This means that one lion could easily overpower a lone hyena.
In terms of strength, hyenas are stronger than lions. Their jaws contain powerful muscles that allow them to rip apart bones and tear flesh. In contrast, lions’ teeth are designed to break down meat into small pieces, making them better suited for hunting.
While hyenas have been shown to be able to outrun lions, they don’t usually attempt to escape because they know that lions will catch up and attack anyway. Instead, hyenas use their speed to give themselves an advantage over the lions. If a pack of hyenas gets cornered, they’ll often run off in different directions to confuse the lions.
The biggest difference between these two animals is their intelligence. Unlike many other species, lions and hyenas aren’t territorial. Because of this, they rarely engage in fights with neighboring pride members. Instead, they prefer to focus on smaller prey like antelopes and gazelles.
A lioness might even try to trick a hyena into attacking her cubs. She’ll lie down next to the young ones and pretend to be injured. When the hyena approaches, she’ll jump up and bite him, causing him to flee.
Comparing a Lion and a Hyena
Lions are one of the largest land animals, weighing up to 600 pounds and standing 4 feet tall at the shoulder. They live in prides of about 10 members, including both males and females, and usually roam over large areas. Lions hunt prey such as antelope, wildebeest, zebra, gazelle, buffalo, warthog, crocodile and even human beings.
Hyenas are smaller cousins of lions, and weigh around 300 pounds. They are found throughout sub-Saharan Africa and often travel in packs. Like lions, hyenas are social creatures and live in groups called clans. These clans range in size from just a few individuals to hundreds of animals. Like lions, hyena clans eat meat, but they mainly eat carrion. Unlike lions, hyenas do not kill humans.
The Key Factors in a Fight Between a Lion and a Hyena
A lioness and her cub are fighting over food. A male hyena watches from a distance. He knows he won’t be able to take either one down alone. So what does he do? Does he join the fray? Or does he just watch?
We know the answer to that question. But how did we figure it out? Let’s look at the seven key factors that will affect the outcome of this fight.
Lions weigh about twice as much as hyenas. They’re bigger and stronger. If you put both animals against each other, the lion wins every single time.
2. Hunting Methods
Hyenas use their powerful jaws to kill prey. Lions are better hunters because they don’t need to chew their food. Instead, they swallow it whole. This makes lions faster and more efficient killers.
Hyenas can reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. That means they can outrun any predator chasing them. The fastest known cheetah runs at 40 mph. By comparison, a lion can only sprint at about 15 mph.
Hyenas have strong legs and powerful jaws. They also have sharp claws that help them climb trees and dig dens. Lions have long, muscular limbs and big paws. Their claws are useless for climbing or digging.
Hyenas are slightly larger than lions. They stand four feet tall and weigh around 300 pounds while lions can grow to six feet tall and weigh up to 600 pounds.
Hyenas are smarter than lions. They can communicate using high-pitched sounds, which helps them find food and avoid predators. Lions can’t make those kinds of noises.
Lions and hyenas share territory. Both species are highly territorial, so there’s no reason for them to attack each other.
Physical Features of Lions and Hyenas
Hyenas are known for their intelligence and cunning, while lions are powerful hunters. But which animal could take down the other? We took a look at how hyenas’ bodies differ from those of lions and found some surprising differences.
The first thing we looked at was the size of the head relative to the rest of the body. In both species, the head is relatively small compared to the rest of the skeleton. This gives hyenas better peripheral vision, making it easier for them to spot potential threats.
But what about the neck? While hyenas have long necks, they don’t have the same flexibility as lions. A lion’s neck is able to bend forward and backward, allowing it to reach prey and predators alike.
Next, we looked at the length of the limbs. Both hyena and lion legs are short and stout, giving them good balance and stability. However, hyenas’ forelimbs are longer than those of lions, giving them greater range of motion and strength.
Finally, we analyzed the shape of the shoulders. Like most mammals, hyenas have large shoulder muscles, which allow them to carry heavy loads over long distances. On the other hand, lions have smaller shoulder muscles, which give them more speed and agility.
Lion vs Hyena: Size
The hyena is roughly the same size as a very large, domestized dog. They are about twice the height of a lion and weigh around 190 lbs. A single adult male could weigh up to 200 lbs. They live in clans of 10 to 20 individuals. These groups tend to stick together, even though they are territorial.
Hyenas are nocturnal hunters and spend most of their day sleeping. They eat mostly meat, including carrion, insects, fish, rodents, reptiles, birds, and eggs. Their diet ranges from 50% mammals to 40% invertebrates to 30% fruits and vegetables.
While prehistoric hyenas weighed up to 300 pounds, today they are much smaller than lions. In fact, the heaviest known hyena weighed just under 150 pounds. Even the smallest modern hyena weighs less than half what a lion does.
Lion vs Hyena: Speed and Movement
Hyenas are known for being fast, agile predators that hunt in packs. They’re also known to be aggressive towards lions, killing off cubs and even adults. On the other hand, lions are large and powerful animals that are well-known for hunting in groups. They’re often seen running alongside hyenas, chasing down prey. This video explores how each species moves and compares it to other animals.
Lion vs Hyena: Bite Power and Teeth
The lion is a strong predator and has been around since the Paleolithic era. Hyenas are much smaller and live in packs. But how does it compare? Let’s take a look at the teeth and bite force of each species.
According to the National Park Service, lions have the largest teeth among predators. They measure 3 inches in length and weigh about 2 pounds. This makes them ideal for crushing bone and tearing flesh. However, hyenas have larger teeth overall, measuring up to 5 inches in length and weighing nearly 4 pounds. These teeth are used to crush bone, tear skin, and even break off chunks of meat.
Both species have similar bite forces. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that the average adult male lion generates 650 pounds of pressure per square inch while the average female produces 600 pounds. For comparison, the average human measures 300 pounds of pressure per square foot.
So what gives? Well, according to the study, the difference is due to the size of the tooth itself. When comparing the same amount of pressure, a bigger tooth requires less force. In fact, a lion’s tooth is twice as big as a hyena’s. So given the same amount of pressure applied, the lion has a better chance of breaking something down.
Lion vs Hyena: Senses
The hyena can see well during the day because it has large eyes with binocular vision. Its ears are sensitive enough to detect movement over long distances. A hyena’s sense of smell is much stronger than a lion’s. In fact, it’s one of the best smells around, according to National Geographic. Lion cubs are born blind and deaf, but their sense of smell develops quickly. They start out smelling like their mother—who smells mainly of her food source—but she starts to smell different once they’re weaned. By three months old, lions begin to develop their sense of smell. They can pick up scents from several hundred yards away.
Hyenas don’t have such keen senses, but they do have strong ones. Like lions, hyenas use their noses to find food. But unlike lions, hyenas prefer to eat carrion. This makes them excellent scavengers. Their sense of smell is so powerful that they can sniff out dead animals buried under snow.
Lion vs Hyena: Physical Defenses
A lion’s size makes it one of the largest land predators around today. There are many different species of big cats, but none of them are quite as imposing as a pride of lions. A lioness is typically about 2 meters tall and weighs up to 200 kilograms. She stands head and shoulders above her smaller cousin, the hyena. This difference in height allows the lioness to stand upright while hunting. Her teeth are sharp enough to tear apart prey like antelope, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, rhino, elephant, hippopotamus, crocodile, gazelle, deer, warthog, waterbuck, and impala.
Hyenas, on the other hand, are much shorter and stockier than lions. They weigh about 50 kilograms and stand just over half a meter high. Their front legs are short and stubby, making them less agile than lions. But unlike most other carnivores, hyenas don’t hunt alone. Instead, they travel in small family units called clans. These clans usually consist of a mother and her offspring. In addition to being able to eat meat, hyenas use their long snouts to dig for food underground. They also scavenge carcasses left behind by lions.
Lion vs Hyena: Offensive Capabilities
Lions are known for being aggressive and territorial, while hyenas are often portrayed as cowardly scavengers. But both species actually use similar techniques to defend themselves against predators. These animals know how to move quickly and efficiently to avoid danger, and use powerful jaws and claws to attack prey.
Hyenas rely on speed and stealth to ambush their prey. They hide behind bushes and trees, waiting for unsuspecting animals to pass by. Then, they pounce on their victims. In some cases, they even follow their prey into water to catch it off guard.
Lions usually hunt alone, though they sometimes work together to bring down large prey like buffalo. When hunting, they charge forward and try to pin their victim down. Once pinned, they deliver a bite to the neck, killing the prey instantly.
Both cats have impressive defensive skills. A lioness will stand her ground when attacked by a leopard, even if she’s outnumbered 10 to one. She uses her head to block blows from the larger cat, and her tail acts as a whip to keep the predator away. If the situation gets too dangerous, she might run away.
A hyena will take cover under thick brush or rocks where he can wait out his enemy. He tries to sneak up on his prey without making noise. If he senses movement nearby, he attacks immediately. His sharp teeth help him tear apart flesh and bone.
Lion vs Hyena: Predatory Behaviors
Hyenas are one of the largest predators in Africa. They’re known for being extremely aggressive and territorial, and they usually hunt alone. But lions aren’t just solitary hunters either. In fact, it takes several different kinds of cats working together to bring down an animal like a buffalo. Here’s how each type of cat contributes to the lion’s success.
A male lion typically weighs about 400 pounds. He stands up to 4 feet tall at the shoulder and has a huge mane that hangs over his face. His eyesight is excellent; he can see well into the distance and spot movement even against the backdrop of darkness. He uses his keen vision to find food and keep track of his territory. A lion’s mouth is lined with razor-sharp teeth that help him tear apart large prey such as antelope and wildebeest. To kill smaller prey, a lion relies on his powerful jaws and powerful forelegs.
Cheetahs are fast and agile runners. They run at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour and can cover distances of up to 30 miles in less than 20 minutes. This makes them very efficient hunters. They rely heavily on their senses and quick reflexes to catch prey. When hunting, cheetahs often lie in wait for hours, waiting for an unsuspecting gazelle or antelope to wander close enough to attack.
Leopards are stealthy hunters. They blend in with their surroundings and stalk their prey silently. Leopards are ambush predators and prefer to take advantage of a surprise attack. They’ll hide in bushes or trees near water holes where they can watch for prey. If a leopard spots something moving, she’ll pounce and try to grab her prey by the throat. She bites off pieces of the victim’s flesh and swallows it whole.
What Are Key Differences Between a Lion and a Hyena?
Lions and hyenas are both large carnivores native to Africa. They both eat meat and scavenge carcasses, but there are key differences between the two species.
Hyenas are much smaller than lions, weighing less than 200 pounds compared to 500 pounds for lions. Their bodies are leaner and shorter than those of lions. Hyenas have no mane and their faces lack the prominent markings seen on lion faces.
Both animals have sharp teeth and strong jaws, but hyenas’ teeth are sharper than those of lions.
The hyena’s nose is longer than the lion’s, allowing it to smell prey better.
Their eyesight is also superior to that of lions. A hyena’s eye is about three times wider than a lion’s.
A hyena’s ears are bigger than a lion’s, giving them a greater range of hearing.
Hyenas have a more flexible spine than lions do. This allows them to move more quickly and efficiently.
Who Would Win in a Fight Between a Lion and a Hyena?
Lions are generally considered the king of the jungle, but hyenas rule over Africa’s savannas. While both animals are fierce predators, lions have the upper hand in almost every category. They’re bigger, stronger, faster, and better at hunting. This makes it difficult for a lone hyena to compete against a pride of lions. But according to a study published in Current Biology, there’s one scenario where a lion could take down a hyena – a duel.
The researchers found that a lion would win a lion v. hyena battle in three out of four situations. In the fourth scenario, the lion would lose because it couldn’t find enough food. In the study, the authors simulated the outcome of several hypothetical fights between a solitary lion and a solitary hyena. They determined that the lion would win in six out of seven cases. One exception occurred when the hyena had a chance to kill the lion while he was sleeping.