Do Lions Really Kill Their Little Cubs?

There are many videos and several articles about lions which had killed their own cubs. So, we decide to make some research about this case and try to understand, are lions really brutal enough to kill their own cubs.

Born, Not to Be Alive

Male Lion with Cub
Generally there are two possible situations when the little cub is killed. Firstly, lions will kill their cubs if the cub is born with serious health problems. Lions know that it’s too hard for sick cub to survive in to the wild. In the other hand, every animal has demand for reproduction and spread their genes and when they recognize that their cubs’ chances are too low to survive, they just behave pragmatically. They kill these cubs to have time to born and raise another healthy one. From the human perspective, this is brutal, but that’s how the nature works.

Ultimate Survival

Lion and Cub
Another case, when lion kills the cubs, happens when one male takes over a pride and drives out the former leader. It means that all females, which are in these group are now under its control. Of course the new leader wants to have its own cubs, also they doesn’t want to spend their priceless energy raising stranger’s cubs. Mating is possible only after lioness raises the cubs, and it takes from two to three years, in the same time new male in the pride has averagely 2 or 3 years as a leader, so he cannot wait so long, they can’t just afford this to themselves. So only way to spread their genes is to kill their predecessors’ cubs. But there is one very interesting behavior, Male lions does not kill female cubs. It is considered that it happens because male lions does not find them frightening, female cubs cannot take over them in the pride, so they leave them alive. And again, it may not be the most humane behavior, but this is how nature and evolution works, stronger ones take over and spread their stronger genes, that’s why they are still living on this planet.