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Ever Wondered Why Lions Lick Their Prey a Lot Before They Start Eating? Here Is Why

Lions often pray on wildbeests, buffaloes and zebras. They also hunt other small animals such as hares, antelopes and birds which dare cross their path. You may have observed them licking their humongous kill before finally devouring it.

The Lion's Tongue

The lion's tongue (including that of the domestic cat), is covered in small, hook-shaped growths called papillae, which point towards the back of the mouth. They are used as a brush to separate flesh from fur and bone. This is especially if it's feeding on hairy animals such as the hare and birds. Moreover, these papillae are in the similitude and have the feeling of a hairbrush, resulting in the tongue becoming a rough surface. They’re sort of like hairs because they are made of keratin, which is the same protein a human’s hairs and fingernails are composed of. The following are a few reasons why the lion has to lick it's prey before eating:

1. It prevents the lion from swallowing small bones that could choke it

While the lion eats the flesh it licks it's prey from time to time. This ensures that it never swallows small, pointy bones that could rip it's throat. In addition, the meat is tenderized, which renders it efficiently digested.

2. It enables the lion to reach the flesh underneath the skin

In the process of licking the skin, the feeding lion consumes the skin completely. Therefore, this makes it possible for the lion to finally reach the flesh that's covered by the skin.

3. It helps them train their cubs how to hunt

A lot of lions have been seen licking prey they have just hunted, before killing and eating them. This mostly happens when the prey (usually an ungulate youngster) is brought alive by the lionesses to their cubs, so that the latter can hone their hunting skills.

Being too young to understand the art of hunting and the throttling bite that is essential to make a kill, the cubs instead resort to play with the animal by chasing it around. When they subdue it, they don’t immediately kill it but rather lick it, possibly as a means to display youth innocence. This behavior mainly occurs with lion cubs but it’s seen in adult lions too.

What could be the other possible reason for this behaviour in lions?

Content created and supplied by: Glad_Tidings (via Opera News )

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