• Question: Why in the animal kingdom, does the lioness female lion go out in packs and hunt for food for there cubs, where as in human nature why is it the male that goes out and is seen as the breadwinner.

    Asked by tashacamilleri to Charlotte, Jo, Kevin, Louise, Valeria on 11 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: Kevin Mahon

      Kevin Mahon answered on 11 Jun 2012:

      While I definately don’t agree that it is human nature for males to be ‘the breadwinner’ you are right to point out that it is unusual in lions that females hunt together.

      Female lions do the hunting for their prides for two main reasons;

      1. As you no doubt know, male lions are characterised by their large manes. While this is beneficial for showing their dominace and fitness (and thus securing females to mate with), it makes them stick out a bit when trying to hunt. This is known as being ‘conspicuous’ which basically means that it’s easier for prey to see him coming. This is generally what keeps males from hunting regularly.

      2. The other reason for the males not going out hunting often is that the main role of the male is to protect the pride – he must conserve his strength for fighting off other male lions who will often try to overthrow him in order to gain access to the females and resources (even at times eating young cubs).

      What I should mention however is that despite these two important reasons, male lions do sometimes join in on a hunt. They will join the females sometimes, particularly when prey being hunted is quite large or strong such as buffalo.

      And of course lets not forget the males who aren’t old enough or dominant enough to secure their own pride! They have no choice but to go out and hunt!

    • Photo: Joanna Cruden

      Joanna Cruden answered on 11 Jun 2012:

      I think in general you cannot compare species; to compare humans lions would be like trying to compare apples to oranges, we are very different animals. I agree that many years ago the male human was considered the hunter gatherer, but nowadays both men and women can be considered to be the breadwinner (hunter/gatherer) equally.

      Bachelor male lions will hunt, and those in a pride do help with the final bringing down of large prey. The lioness also rears the cubs and this may give her more incentive to hunt than the male lion