How fast are lions? What is the top speed of a lion?

  • By: Alex
  • Date: July 29, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Lions are strong and fast predators, reaching up to 80 km/h (50 mph) in short bursts and covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft).

Lions are strong and fast predators, reaching up to 80 km/h (50 mph) in short bursts and covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft).

Lions have long legs and a massive chest. Their forelegs are slightly longer than the hind legs, making them sprinters rather than endurance runners. A lion’s body remains low to the ground at full speed, with its legs and back extension acting as a giant spring.

Lions are ambush hunters rather than chase hunters. They will stalk their prey in short bursts of energy, getting close enough so that they can make a final, mighty charge, leaping at the last moment and bringing their markdown with a suffocating neck bite.

Because of their strong necks, lions can reach around and bite the bellies of some animals, delivering a fatal blow that protects them from retaliatory impacts from large hoofed prey.

It’s possible to calculate how fast lions can run by looking at how much energy they expend when hunting.

For example, it’s known that lions spend vast amounts of energy during a hunt (up to 150 kg of live weight) and must ingest at least half the animal they kill within 24 hours to survive.

Lion-prey systems are particular; when large prey is abundant, lions will feed on them. When the target becomes scarce, lions turn to smaller animals such as gazelles or impala.

Lions are one of the most successful mammalian predators in Africa today. They have been studied for over 100 years and analyzed from every angle but still hold many secrets. Learning them is difficult because they inhabit a vast area extending from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic and Central Africa to northern Arabia.

Researchers have estimated that lions can run at speeds of over 80 km/h (50 mph) for short distances, but whether this is sustainable is still uncertain.

Can you outrun a lion?

It may be more sensible to avoid an encounter and get away as quickly as possible if you can’t. Lions travel large distances and have been observed covering 60 km (37 miles) a night.

Walking with other people is always safer if you’re planning on going into lion country. Do your research beforehand and find out if lions or other dangerous animals have been spotted in the area you’re visiting.


How long can a lion run at top speed?

How long can a lion run at top speed?

If a lion could maintain top speed for 4 seconds, it would run 100 meters. The distance covered at 80 km/h (50 mph) for 4 seconds would be 40 m (130 ft).

Lions can sprint at speeds of up to 70-80 km/h and have been observed covering more than 60 km in one night.

Lion’s ears are most sensitive to low frequencies, so they can accurately judge the location of prey by localizing and pinpointing their breathing sounds, even in tall grasses where visibility is limited.

A lion seeks out high places to ambush other animals or seek food, so a tree may be your last hope if one is chasing you.


How long do lions usually hunt for?

A lion will track around 30 kilometers a night searching for food and may spend 6 hours moving slowly towards its prey. It will spend just 15 minutes eating, and its hind legs ache for several hours after eating a large meal.

More lions die from overeating than by being killed by other animals.


Frequently asked questions:


Who is a faster lion or horse?

A lion can accelerate faster than a horse, reaching up to 55 km/h (35 mph) in short bursts and covering distances up to 500 m (1,600 ft). Horses are still one of the fastest land animals. They have been clocked at more than 60 km/h (40 mph), but they tire after 100 meters and need to rest after 1,600 meters.

Who runs faster, lion or tiger?

Lions can run faster than tigers but have shorter stamina. When hunting large prey such as Cape buffalo or elephants, lions prefer to attack from cover and rush in at the last moment.


What to do if a lion is chasing you?

If you encounter a lion, try to remain calm and let it know you’re aware of its presence by talking in an even tone, making eye contact but never staring at it for too long.

Don’t run away from it; lions will chase prey that tries to escape and see these actions as an invitation to pounce. Instead, stand your ground while backing away slowly or pick up a large stick and hold it above your head so the lion knows you’re dangerous too.

If attacked, try to remain on your feet at all costs; lions will bite the spine and neck of their prey until they collapse. Ideally, stay standing and fight back by hitting it in the face. When a lion pins down its prey with its jaws, it also uses its teeth to hold the victim while biting it.

Although lions prefer to attack weaker members of a herd or family group, such as an injured old lion or a young cub, large males with a full mane are also targeted. Lions have been observed to kill young male lions from other pride by pinning them down and biting through the back of their skulls.

Unfortunately, there is no quick or easy way out if you encounter a lion in the wild. You’ll be lucky to survive an attack, even with armed assistance.


Frequently asked questions:


Can a lion climb trees?

Can a lion climb trees?

No, a lion cannot climb trees; but they are good at climbing on rocks and cliffs. They will do this when the area has water nearby because scouts from the pride will go ahead and find waterholes or springs. If there are no waterholes around, and they are really thirsty, they will climb up to a higher area where it has been raining and lick the rain off leaves.

Can lions swim?

Lions are excellent swimmers and have been seen swimming over 50 m (160 ft). They take pride in their ability to cross rivers; however, they will avoid scratching narrow or too deep areas. If a lion is chased by a predator while in the river, it may dive underwater and swim away.

Can lions jump?

Lions are powerful creatures that can leap up to three times their height vertically (up to 9 m/30 ft) and as far as five times body length horizontally (about 15 m/50 ft). They can quickly jump over a fence or wall 3 m (10 ft) high.

Would a lion attack a human?

Lions are known to attack humans when they come too close to their territory. Since lions tend to be territorial, once they have found a suitable feeding spot, they will aggressively defend their territory from other animals and potential threats, including people.