Why Lions Will Eat You After Full Moon

They're especially hungry because they can't hunt on bright nights
By Sarah Whitmire,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2011 2:51 PM CDT
African Lion Attacks: More Occur After Full Moon
The peak lion attack danger time for humans is dusk, especially on the days following a full moon.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – African lions are most likely to hunt prey on moonless nights, and especially on nights following a full, bright moon, the Telegraph reports. A study looked at roughly 500 lion attacks on Tanzanian villagers over the past two decades, and found that a vast majority occurred between dusk and 10pm on nights with waning moonlight. Lions generally can't hunt on bright nights, so a full moon means they're out of luck—and getting hungry.

''People start out at moderate danger during days 0-4, when the moon is only a sliver and sets shortly after sunset," said an expert on lion behavior. As the moon gets bigger, danger of an attack gets relatively smaller. "Then, wham, danger spikes as those hungry lions can now operate in darkness for the rest of the lunar cycle." They also found that rainy seasons that often hide the moon with clouds lead to an increase in attacks. (Read more lion stories.)

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