Tuesday 4 May 2021

Do tigers and lions eat the same food?

Tigers, lions, domestic cats and all the other cat species (about 36) have the same nutritional needs and therefore at a fundamental level, in terms of nutrients, they eat the same food. What is different is the way the food is packaged. We know that domestic cats eat mice (primary prey) and commercial cat food together with the odd treat of human food. 

Lion and tiger. Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay 

We know that tigers will kill any animal that puts itself in a vulnerable position. Few animals appear to be immune to tiger predation. Few animals are off the tiger menu. The same can be said about the lion. However, there will be differences in the prey animals that they eat because of availability.

The lion and tiger live in different places on the planet and the availability of prey animals differs in these places. Also, both these big cats require large animals to successfully feed adequately. The tiger, for instance, will hunt chital in the Royal Badia National Park, Nepal as a primary prey animal. Across their distribution, primarily in India, they will hunt barking deer, sambar, gaur, hog deer, chital, wild pig to name some animals but there will also attack and eat small mammals, primates, badgers and porcupines for example. 

The lion will eat fish sometimes and impala, waterbuck, springbok, zebra, eland, warthog, giraffe, buffalo, bushbuck, ostrich to name some examples including the porcupine and other small animals. It's a huge range of animals. It has to be because they take what's available and the same goes for tigers.

To recap, the lion and tiger prey on different animals but there is an overlap and at heart these big cats have exactly the same nutrients in their make up and so, yes, tigers and lions eat the same food.

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