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Life Hacks: 

How to survive a lion attack

Lion body

Halfway through this article we’re going to tell you to punch him in the face

Most lions flee from vehicles, and even people on foot. However, if you’re travelling alone and you’ve managed to bump into a courting male lion or a lioness with cubs, this could mean big trouble. So just in case, here are some tips on how to handle being charged by the king of the jungle, something Discover Wildlife describes as “disconcerting to say the least”…


Run. This is probably the most important tip we can give. As Smithsonian puts it, “The fastest human to ever live, Usain Bolt, can run 27.79 miles per hour. A lion can run 50 miles per hour”. In short: stand still.


Analyse the lion – find out what it wants. Smithsonian says, “Lions that are feeling threatened will swish their tails back and forth. Lions that are hunting try to stay as still as possible, holding their tails rigid. If a lion is hunting you, this is very bad for you.”


Turn your back. If you try and climb a tree, the lion will climb it better. Discover Wildlife advises, “It is vital to stand your ground, perhaps retreating very slowly, but to continue facing the lion while clapping your hands, shouting and waving your arms around to make yourself look bigger. Most charges are mock charges, so you will usually be fine.”


Fight back. WikiHow suggests using “whatever you have to hand, such as sticks, rocks, your binoculars, whatever.” Throw hard and aim for the face. Remember to stand tall, as the lion will go for your throat. As WiseGeek says, “These tacticsmay seem futile against a powerful animal, but many documented reports exist of people being attacked and surviving by fighting back.”


Worry too much for now. Take comfort from this handy pie chart from Smithsonian, which suggests you’ll probably manage to avoid meeting a lion on most days.

Even if you do run into one, there’s every chance he’ll be lovely…

Photo: Maggy Meyer/

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