Importance of Natural Resources

Film Theory: Can The Lion King SURVIVE on Bugs?

*opening lion king music plays* ♪ Its the circle of- *sounds of baby MatPat crying and falling as he is thrown away* *thud* *film theory intro theme plays* Hello Internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that wants to know can we really blame Scar for being so evil? NOBODY, not even his brother calls him by anything other than Scar and is that really appropriate? Can you really give someone a nickname from a disfiguring accident? And it’s even WORSE if he was born with it and that’s just his name. “Ah, yes we shall name you Mufasa, Sarabi, …Scar” The great, traditional, African name of Scar. So, in case you can’t tell, I’ve got “The Lion King” on my mind, the children’s film with a villain so evil and so psychologically manipulative that he gets eaten alive at the end of the movie, and we’re all like: “Yeah. Totally deserved it.” The one with music SO catchy all I gotta say is: “♪ Hakuna Matata ♪ ” and you’ve got the song stuck in your head like THAT. AND the one that I was recently re-watching when I was struck with a theorist-sized question: So after Simba runs away from the Pride Lands in the wake of Mufasa’s death, he comes to live with Timon and Pumbaa After Simba gets hungry, Timon remarks “Listen, kid, you live with us. You have to EAT like us.” But Timon and Pumba eat nothing but bugs: Beetles, caterpillars, moths, and sure, we see Simba choke one down even kinda liking it BUT HE’S A GROWING LION! I mean, appreciate your enthusiasm for keeping your young protagonist innocent of killing other animals for his food, Disney. But there is BASIC BIOLOGY at play here. A cat’s gotta eat. Especially if that cats name is CatPat. ‘Cause i’m LITERALLY reminded five times a day. So here’s today’s question: Can lions ACTUALLY survive off of BUGS? HECK! Could a single ecosystem even have enough bugs to sustain a lion? I mean, if an animal is naturally meant to eat gazelle and instead only dines on grubs, There’s gotta be some sort of health ramifications here, right? These are the questions that only I am brave enough, And yes. Perhaps BORED enough to answer. So spray on some repellent, because on today’s episode of Film Theory, WE ARE Buggin’ out. *squishing sound* Now the first thing we need to do to determine the plausibility of Simba’s chitin diet is pinpoint exactly WHERE, and and how long the events of The Lion King are taking place. That way, we’ll have a batter idea of the kind of creepy crawlies that we’re gonna have on the menu. Lions can be found in most parts of Africa that aren’t the Sahara desert, so… unfortunately, that doesn’t really narrow it down for us… The producers of the movie, however, were inspired by Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya. Where they found some locations that look suspiciously like Pride Rock, as well as some other locations from the film. Hell’s Gate is located in Southwestern Kenya. Near the east coast of the African continent. So i’ll only be considering creatures indigenous to those areas. Now, it might seem that when Simba is with Timone and Pumbaa, that he’s in a radically different place, but that’s… unlikely… Lions only tend to roam around 100 square mile area throughout their lives. And given the fact that Simba’s so young, it would be strange if he even went THAT far after Scar told him to flee. This limits us pretty strictly to Southeastern Africa in Kenya and Tanzania. GOOD, so location was pretty easy to pinpoint, now let’s talk about time. Just how long is he on that all-caterpillar cleanse? So when Simba runs away, he’s pretty small. Less than half the height of the fully grown Mufasa, Suggesting he’s no more than just a few months old. And by the time he reunites with Nala, he has a large mane, meaning, he’s full grown. And that translates to him being three years old at the youngest. So, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that Simba is in exile with Timone and Pumbaa for about three years. So a supply of multi-legged meals would have to be able to last him that long. And now to answer the question that has plagued both zoo-goers, and aspiring Lion tamers for years: Just how much meat does a Lion eat? According to a very detailed guide for Australian Zookeepers that I managed to dig up from the depths of the internet: “An adult male Lion eats about 7 kilograms”, or a little over 15 POUNDS OF MEAT PER DAY. 15 POUNDS!!! BUT, this should come with a disclaimer. Adult male lions need to eat that much because they burn so much energy by hunting; Since Lions are only successful on the hunt about 20 ~ 30% of the time. Side note: Remember that the next time you’re struggling with ANYTHING in your own life. One of the BIGGEST, SCARIEST, and most WELL ADAPTED hunters IN THE WORLD ends up falling flat on his face 4 out of 5 times when it’s LITERALLY trying to catch the food that it needs to SURVIVE. Moral of the story: BE A LION. KEEP TRYING. You’re gonna be fine. *softly* This inspirational moment brought to you, by Film Theory. If you are inspired, make sure that you comment below: I AM A LION and SMASH that Subscribe button. Can you do it in five seconds? FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO! ONE! Did you do it? LET OUT YOUR LION ROAR! URAAAAAAAAAA!!! LION! That was… That was more of just a masculine gurgle… ANYWAY, my strong Lion Pride, let’s get back into this episode. Simba probably didn’t need to eat as much as the average adult male Lion Because he A: Was presumably eating the bare minimun he needs to survive, And B: Wasnt expending nearly as much energy trying to find and eat bugs, as he would having to run down and chomp a Gazelle. Therefore, it makes a bit more sense to suggest that Simba would be best off with a diet of a Lion in captivity, which is significantly LESS meat per day. Only about 3 Kilograms, or a little under 7 pounds each day. Additionally, it’s worth noting that the bugs Simba is eating should be very high in protein, and not too fatty, since research has found that eating meat with a higher than 10% fat content can actually make Lions vomit. That’s bad news for lions, but GRRREAT news for me! Since it means that next time i decide to go on a safari, Lions ain’t gonna eat me! FATPAT FOR THE WIN! Well… I guess they could, but it would give them an AGGRESSIVE tummyache. I KNEW my lack of a six pack would come in handy one day! So all factors considered, what we’re really looking for are insects with macronutrient contents similar to that of chicken breast, and we’re looking for about six or seven pounds worth of it every. day. Let’s meet some of our possible food sources. The only type of bug that Timone specifically mentions eating are grubs. “Hey! this looks like a good spot to rustle up some grub!” And rather large ones, at that. While we don’t get any kind of details on what kind of caterpillar that is, a good bet based on its size and prevalence throughout Southern Africa would be the Mopane Worm. Mopane worms are the caterpillar version of the Emperor Moth. And they’re found on, not very surprisingly, Mopane Trees. While it’s hard to get an estimate of exactly how many Mopane worms there would be in the areas of africa we’re looking at, they are common enough that they’ve become an essential part of the diet in many Subsaharen African cultures, due to their prevalence and high protein content. In fact, you can order your own online! If… You’re feeling adventurous… But the packaging on that bag of bug snacks reveals one of the major problems with Simba eating Mopane Worms as a staple of his diet. That bag is about 30 grams, and contains 30 Mopane Worms. At one gram per worm, Simba is gonna need to find, and consume, about 3,000 Mopane worms EVERY DAY to get his daily nutritional requirements. And while the eggs and larva of these caterpillars are found in small groups are found in small groups, fully grown ones are less likely to be clustered as they seperate out to seek space to pupate and become moths. So, I guess in extreme circumstances it’s somehow plausible that Simba could eat 3,000 caterpillars in a day, EVERY DAY, but it’s still not very likely when you consider that Mopane Worms live in trees. So they have to be low-hanging ones for him to eat. …Or he’d have to expend a lot of energy to get into the trees that contain ’em So, long story short, I think we can rule these guys out as his primary source of nourishment. So if the issue here is that bugs aren’t large enough, mabye there are some huge African bugs that would give Simba more bang for his energetic buck, and indeed, there are. Say goodbye to your ability to sleep soundly tonight, and say hello, to Microchaetus Rappi. Also known, as the African Giant Earthworm. Michrochaetus Rappi averages about 4 and a half FEET in length. That’s almost the size of my mom. She’s… Kinda short… Though the longest one in recorded history showed up in South Africa at a whopping 22 FEET LONG! Presumably the result of playing for a couple hours. At a couple of pounds a piece, the African Giant Earthworm would be a much more efficient meal for Simba. And he presumably wouldn’t mind eating them, as he calls the grub he eats in the movie: “Slimy, yet, satisfying!” And if you wanna talk about nutritional density, earthworms are WAY up there! Earthworms are about 70% protein by mass, if you exclude the water. And have a reasonably low fat content as well, so if simba can get his paws on just a few of these giant earthworms per day, he is SET! Right? Absolutely, but there are two kinda big problems with that… First, it’s gonna be really hard for Simba to find these worms, since, like other Earthworms, they’re only gonna really emerge from the ground when it’s too wet for them to stay in the dirt. Sure, Simba can dig around, I guess… But it’s gonna be a lot of energy. And obviously he can’t just wait for it to rain every time he wants a meal, but the bigger, and more insurmountable issue with all of this is that the African Giant Earthworm is EXTRAORDINARILY rare. In fact, they are SO rarely seen by humans that some think that they may actually be extinct. At this point in time. Even if they’re not, all the surviving giants are located deep underground, so the chances of Simba stumbling into a handful of these guys every. single. day. Over the course of YEARS, Is pretty much nonexistent. Sorry, inspiration for the movie Tremors, we hardly knew ye. In fact, we so hardly knew ye that we’re not even sure if you’ve been wiped clean from the planet earth. Surprisingly, the problem here isn’t the bugs, its finding ENOUGH bugs, with little enough effort. THAT is the major limiting factor for Simba’s Bug-centric meal plan. So does that mean he would have starved to death while he was with Timone and Pumbaa? Well, not necessarily. Because Southeastern Africa does have a type of bug, that would be easy for Simba to find, nutritious enough to sustain him, and prevalent enough that he won’t have to exhaust his supply in a matter of weeks. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mandrills and Horn bills, cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney, I present to you, African Mound Building Termites. Granted, Termites are small. VERY small. Only a couple of miligrams each, but that they lack in body weight, they make up for in concentrated volume. one of the most common termite species in the area of Africa we’re looking at, Macrotermes Bellicosus builds mounds that house Termite colonies with HUNDREDS, of THOUSANDS, or even MILLIONS of termites in them. Even at only a few milligrams a piece, If Simba raids a large Termite colony, he can get about 4 and a half to five pounds of Termites outta there to eat! One or two colonies a day, and he is GOLDEN! It’s also not as if only one of those Termite species is gonna sustain Simba by itself, Africa is home to over A THOUSAND different varieties of Termite, And those termites he’d be eating are VERY nutritious. Their protein content is within the bounds of what Lions generally eat, and are roughly comparable to that of BEEF “where’s the beef?” It’s a big pile of maggots. But all of that still leaves open the big question of weather it’s reasonable for Simba at find and ravage two termite colonies per day, for a couple of years, without running out. The shocking answer to that, Is that it’s not just possible, It should be easy. In Savannah biomes, the biomass of Termites actually exceeds the biomass of ALL MAMMALS COMBINED. Generally by a significant margin. In Kruger National Park in South Africa, The number of termite mounds numbers about 1.1 MILLION Not TERMITES, Termite MOUNDS! 1.1 MILLION MOUNDS of TERMITES, each of themselves containing HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS to MILLIONS of TERMITES! WHOA BOY that is weird and creepy and gross. My like, spine is tingling! Satellite photography also shows us just how omnipresent Termite mounds are. With the red areas in this picture indicating the presence of COLONIES. THEY. ARE. EVERYWHERE!!! They are nutritious, and given the fact that most members of the colony are at, or just below ground level, they would be really easy for Simba to get to as a ground dwelling mammal. YES SIR! If Simba’s gonna maintain a diet of only bugs, Termites are the way to go. So yeah, unbelievably, a Lion COULD feasibly exist off of a diet of ONLY bugs! Crazy! Right! When I thought of this episode I’m like “There’s no way that this is gonna be possible” But it totally IS! So we can assume, then, that Simba’s gonna live this way, and then Nala finds him living with Timone and Pumbaa, and he can go back to the Pridelands, and pick up where he left off, and everything’s happy. For as “heart, stars and horseshoes” as this fictional Disney universe is, everyone goes away exactly as it Happens in the movie, right? Wellll, not exactly. You see, even though nutritionally Simba will still be alive due to his all-bug-mostly-Termite diet, Such a diet would likely create some other health problems for a growing Lion. Namely with his teeth and jaws. Ya see, Lions have to eat large prey and chew on bones in order to maintain the sharpness of their teeth, and the strength of their jaws. But if Simba’s just been eating nothing but crispy and not very hard to bite termites for multiple years, the strength in his teeth and jaws are gonna be greatly diminished. The same happens to captive Lions who don’t have to hunt and are given a lot of soft foods And all of this has some awkward ramifications for the end of our story. So, Simba returns to Pride Rock to reclaim his throne as the Lion King; Intending to overthrow the evil Scar. Except, in order to do that, they have to battle. And Simba is gonna need his teeth. Teeth that aren’t nearly as strong as Scars, who’s been eating meat this whole time. Simba goes for one final bite at Scar’s neck! …Only for his teeth to fall out… Scar realizes that his opponent is only GUMMING HIM TO DEATH Like an elderly woman on pudding day, and throws Simba off of Pride Rock using his fully sharpened, meat strengthened teeth. And the Pride Lands continue to suffer under Scars’ reign. That’s why you have a natural order to things: Predator, and Prey. You might even call it, “The circle of life”. BUT HEY, that’s JUST A THEORY. A FILM THEORY! AAAAND CUT. Your beard with Dollar Shave Club. The club gets you a great shave, at a great price, delivered right to your door, so leave that Lion’s mane on the floor. You’ve heard me talk about it on this channel before, so enough “PUSSY FOOTING” around, get it? “Pussy Footing?” Since Lions are all giant cats? “Pussy” footing? ANYWAY Let’s get right to the point. Number one, razor blades in stores are expensive and crappy, Dollar Shave Club razors aren’t expensive and are REALLY, REALLY high quality. The executive razor is like… It’s like… Holding a solidly built metal cylinder in my hands, and, using it to glide over my facial hair Alright, so admittedly i’m not super poetic. SUE ME! Number two: Buying razors in stores is inconvenient because you’re always too busy to actually go to the store when you run out of blades. Dollar Shave Club brings those blades right to your door like a Santa Claus of shaving “Ho Ho Ho! It’s time for that stubble to Go Go Go!” Number three: For a limited time, new members get their first month of the executive razor, that solidly built tube of metal razor goodness, with a tube of their shave butter for only five dollars, and with free shipping. So if you add it all up, it is a $15 value for only $5. that’s $10 there, that is like 10 single hamburgers at Mc Donalds. …Nine with tax… After that, razors are just, like, a few bucks a month. This offer is exclusively available at That’s These guys gave us this special offer, so let’s not let it go to waste. Long story short, Dollar Shave Club is just the smarter choice, and you guys are all smart. I mean, you just sat through a 15 minute video about Lions eating termites in the African Serengeti. Nerdier than Discovery channel these days. So keep up that smart streak and make the smart move, Join the club. You’ll be “PROUD” that ya did. …Get it? ‘Cause a group of lions is called a Pride, and… You’re gonna be proud…. OK FINE! I’m not super poetic, but i’m not super funny either! FINE! WHATEVER! MY CHEEKS ARE AS SOFT AS A BABY’S BUTTOCKS, THAT’S what you get for joining the Dollar Shave Club crew, and you can get it too! Join the club and never buy blades in a store ever again, and that’s it, get your shave on, I’ll see you next week for Wonder Woman. She needs a shave too. So all you Women out there: Dollar Shave Club. DO IT! EXECUTIVE! *Outro music plays*

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