Do lions often climb trees?

Do lions climb? Sarah Huebner from the Lion Research Centre has all the answers.

Lioness and her cub. © Jonathan & Angela Scott/Getty

Not really. Though individuals from most prides exhibit tree-climbing behaviour, they don’t do it very often – in less than five per cent of observations.


The primary motivation for heading up into the branches it to avoid something unpleasant on the ground, such as an attack by elephants or buffalo. These skirmishes often occur after a failed predation event, when the prey animals have sufficent numcers to retaliate. Elephants and buffalo are quite capable of killing a cornered lion due to their size and strength.

Lions may also climb trees to get better vantage points for identifying potential targets, or to avoid biting insects.


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