Here are Six Small Animals That Can Easily Kill a Lion


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In the African savannah, the “King of the Jungle” reigns supreme. The lion is one of the most dangerous animals in the world. But, even kings have their adversaries.

This article discusses the dynamics between lions and their natural enemies. While some, such as hyenas, are quite well known, others may surprise you.


Hyenas are often depicted as dirty, ugly scavengers, yet in the wild, they are the biggest threat to lions. These two species engage in fierce competition over food sources, leading to epic confrontations. Hyenas, with their powerful jaws and strategic group-hunting tactics, often challenge lions, especially when they outnumber them.

While a lone lion can dominate a few hyenas, the tables turn when more hyenas band together, greatly outnumbering the lion. In these group confrontations, hyenas can overwhelm a lion, potentially injuring or even killing it through sheer force and teamwork.

Hyenas can and will eat lions if the opportunity arises. They have powerful jaws capable of breaking through bone, which allows them to consume almost every part of a lion carcass.


Leopards are solitary stealth masters of the African bush. But they occasionally find themselves in direct conflict with lions. Due to their overlapping territories, skirmishes over prey can occur. Leopards go to great lengths to avoid these confrontations.

However, when clashes occur, the outcome heavily favors the lion due to its size and strength advantage. Leopards may be forced to abandon their hard-earned meals or stand up to the lion and risk fatal injuries. The leopard’s main defensive tactic is to keep away from lions by retreating to trees where lions cannot follow.

If given the opportunity, leopards will prey on lion cubs. They use their stealth to follow and observe lion pride, then pick off a cub when it is most vulnerable.


Baboons might seem an unlikely threat to the mighty lion, but these primates are fiercely protective of their troops. Armed with sharp teeth and a surprising level of hostility, baboons can become worthy adversaries when lions venture too close. Baboon troops band together to confront a lion that poses a threat. The collective show of aggression from a troop can be enough to deter a lion, especially if the lion is alone.

Typically, baboons try to avoid conflict with lions by retreating to the safety of trees where lions cannot easily follow. Lions can and do prey on baboons, particularly the young, old, or sick individuals who cannot escape as quickly. Predation usually occurs at night when lions are most active and baboons are at their most vulnerable.


Porcupines can kill lions, leopards and hyenas. While they are seen as prey on the savannah, those who hunt them are taking big risks. The porcupine’s quills can detach and embed themselves into the flesh of any predator that attempts to attack it.

Due to their barbed nature, the quills are difficult to remove and can migrate deeper into the lion’s body. This can lead to severe infections which can be potentially life-threatening.


African wild dogs also find themselves at odds with lions. Lions are known to steal kills from wild dogs. Aware of the lions’ superior strength, the dogs will often vacate an area if they detect a lion’s presence to avoid confrontation. The wild dogs’ agility and speed often allow them to escape unharmed.

If necessary, wild dogs will band together to defend against a lion, using their numbers to their advantage. They have a strong pack mentality. To protect their young or to defend an injured pack member, they may try to harass a lone lion or a small group of lions with hit-and-run tactics.

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