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Do lions eat their cubs?

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Under certain circumstances, it can happen, yes. A lioness sometimes eats her young if they have been killed by another animal, or by disease, starvation, etc. She begins by licking the cub, trying to rouse it, and when it doesn't 'wake up' this seems to turn into a predatory response. Eating the cub helps her to recycle the nutrients she lost nurturing it. It is much rarer for a lioness to actually kill her cubs, but this too can occur. Animals can often tell if something is wrong with their young, even if they appear normal to human eyes, and in this case she may kill and eat them since they are unlikely to survive anyway and she would be wasting time and energy trying to raise them. Many female animals will do this, including some herbivores (e.g. rabbits). As some people have said, new males taking over a pride will kill any young cubs in order to bring the females back into heat so that they can sire their own cubs. These males do sometimes eat the cubs they have killed, but of ... more
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