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Can Lions be Friendly & Can They be Tamed?

Lions are generally not friendly. They are wild animals and while they can be tamed to a certain degree, they will always retain some of their wild tendencies. Lions in captivity can show affection and act friendly to their caretakers. This happens when they are raised from birth or saved when they are young.

Lions are among the fiercest predators in the world. They are not your friendly neighborhood cat. At least not to anyone.

While captive lions can appear tame, they can never be completely tamed or domesticated. They are wild animals and their nature can’t be changed by humans. 

So can lions be friendly, can they be tamed, and do they attack humans? We’ll find the answers to these questions and more.

Are Lions Friendly?

No, lions are not friendly. While lions are social animals that live in groups called prides or coalitions, they are not friendly to people. They are friendly and care for one another within the group but this friendliness rarely extends to other species.

Lions are naturally friendly to other lions within their group and family. They are inherently social animals that normally live in groups and coalitions of males. 

Within the group, lions cooperate to catch prey, defend territory, and even raise the young.[1]

Lions are the most sociable of any feline.

When it comes to their relationship with humans, lions are generally unfriendly or uncaring. Because of their apex predator status, lions are calm and don’t care about humans as they don’t see us as a threat.

Lions can still be dangerous to us though. While they tend not to see us as prey, they can kill and even actively hunt humans.

Lions that have been socialized with humans from a young age are different. These lions get attached to their caretakers and can show affection towards them. Raising the lions from they are young cubs tightens their bond with people.[2]

Are Lion Friendly

Can Lions be Tamed?

No, lions can not be tamed completely. While they may appear tame, they can still instinctually lash out. They are wild animals and will always keep their wild instincts. Captive lions are easier to deal with than wild ones, but they aren’t domesticated.

Lions can’t be completely tamed. Like most wild animals, they retain many of their wild tendencies in captivity and still act on instinct under certain conditions. 

Even if they are raised by humans from a young age, their natural inclination toward hunting may surface.

Lions aren’t domesticated either. Domestication is a process that takes place over generations, altering the genome of a wild animal. Domesticated animals (such as pet dogs) are used to living with humans by default. Lions are not.

Can You Tame a Lion?

Can You Tame a Lion
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It’s not really possible to tame a lion. Unless you are a wildlife expert and a calm and collected person, it’s not recommended to go anywhere near an adult lion. 

Some lions are partially tamed if they were raised from birth, showing social and friendly tendencies.

To “tame” lions you’re gonna have to learn how to understand and mimic some of their body language. This is how they generally communicate, vocalizations being only a small part of it.[3]

Are Lions Dangerous?

Yes, lions are some of the most dangerous predators. They are the apex predators in their environments, meaning they sit at the top of the food chain. They can hunt animals much larger than themselves and their cooperation with each other makes them even more efficient. They can also be dangerous to humans.

Lions are some of the strongest predators in the animal kingdom, found across Africa and in the Gujarat state of India.

Lions are also efficient predators. They need a lot of food so they mostly hunt large animals that provide a lot of meat:

  • Buffalos
  • Zebras
  • Wildebeest
  • Other similarly sized animals

Lions regularly hunt in groups, making them more dangerous than solitary predators. In groups, they can catch and kill massive prey such as elephants, rhinos, and hippos. 

They do tend to target juveniles and injured individuals though, as adult elephants are dangerous.[4]

They are also dangerous to humans. Lions are larger than us (small adult lionesses are the size of a large man) and powerful, with sharp teeth and claws. 

An unarmed human stands no chance against a lion.

Related article: Are Lions Dangerous?

Are Lions Dangerous

Do Lions Attack Humans?

Yes, lions do sometimes attack humans. They don’t usually see us as prey, but they are more than capable of killing any unarmed human. They tend to ignore humans, but some man-eating lions prey on villages and workers.

Lions attack humans. They are apex predators in their regions, and while they don’t usually see us as prey they’ve been known to hunt humans. As they are stronger than us, unarmed people stand no chance against lions.

Under certain circumstances, lions can be forced by their situations to start hunting and eating humans:

  • Habitat loss
  • Prey depletion
  • Poaching

Human expansion into lion territory, has negative effects on lions’ lives. These effects coupled with the ease with which they can kill us and opportunity can lead to the appearance of man-eating lions.       

Man-eating lions actively seek out humans to catch and eat. They see us as easy prey, and if they can’t catch their usual prey, we are a good alternative. Man-eaters are bold enough to grab helpless humans from the center of busy villages.[5] 

Do Lions Attack Humans

How Often Do Lions Attack Humans?

Lions attack humans regularly. About 250 people die each year after being attacked by lions. These numbers may be higher, but lions are still experiencing a great population decline due to human activity.

Lions don’t shy away from attacking humans if they feel provoked. Every year an estimated 250 people lose their lives as a result of lion attacks. 

Man’s best friend on the other hand is responsible for about 30,000 human deaths yearly.[6]

As humans push further into lion territory, causing habitat loss and prey depletion, conflicts between humans and lions rise. 

Lions are being driven closer to extinction each year, dropping from around 200 thousand individuals one hundred years ago to less than 30 thousand.[7]


Lions are only friendly to other lions within their group. When it comes to humans, lions raised since they were cubs, or saved by humans may be friendly towards their caretakers. 

Lions can’t be fully tamed, there is always the chance that their instincts take over and they attack a “friend”. They are dangerous animals, the apex predators of their environment. 

Sadly, they are pushed further and further towards extinction due to human activity. This will only increase the number of conflicts between humans and lions.

About Codrin Frunzete

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