But I couldn’t help thinking that had they just hung on for another hour, concealed somewhere close by, it would have ended up pitch dark and the pride could have come at the buffalo from different directions, effectively hemming him in, and they would have had a much higher chance of success.
Anyway, no use dwelling on the past, which I guess is the crux of the matter for lions. Well, not the past, but the ability to imagine something other than the here and now. More specifically, the future.
Lions and other predators – and in fact most of nature – live very much in the present. Stimulus-response. Although a slightly more developed cranial capacity might endow the ability to learn on certain animals, for the most part nature operates very much in response to environmental cues.
Self-control is basically the ability to stop yourself doing things that you might want to do but that might not be in your best interest, so I guess lion’s do possess it to varying degrees, but the ‘not being in their best interest’ part would most likely only be relevant to the dangers of a hunt.
Yes a single lioness might want to take on 100 buffalo that would provide her with a meal, but it certainly wouldn’t be in her best interest. Then again, looking at it in a different way, she might actually not want to. The danger factor would override the “want” part of it.
So really the self-control I’m referring to in these tawny cats is the ability to not hunt now just because an opportunity presents itself, but wait a little bit longer until conditions are more advantageous.
And I don’t think they do have that ability, but nor do I think it’s a bad thing.