How Many Bugs Would Simba Have To Eat To Survive In The Jungle All Those Years?

The Lion King

The Lion King is one of Disney's most loved animated films. It's so popular, in fact, that it's possible we've overlooked a critical flaw in the story. An all-grub diet is unlikely to work out for a lion. Lions are massive animals that need a huge amount of protein to survive. Bugs, while a valid protein source, do not offer a great deal per insect. The data has now been crunched, and it appears that Simba would have to eat as many as six grubs per minute (without sleeping) in order to survive. No worries indeed.

Based on the data, a lion needs something between 8,000 and nearly 9,000 calories a day. Crickets, according to one example, are 121 calories per 100 grams. This would mean a full-grown Simba would need to eat 24,292 crickets per day just to survive. Of course, just finding that many would probably burn a lot of calories.

The data comes from an unearthed post on Reddit from a while back that caught our eye. It certainly shows the difficulty that poor Simba would have living with Timon and Pumbaa. While the meerkat and warthog are relatively small, Simba is a growing lion. It's surmised that he'd actually need a greater calorie intake as a growing lion than he would when he grows into an adult. While it appears that the exact calorie value of, say, a cricket, isn't exactly agreed upon, what is clear is that it would take a lot of them for a lion to survive. When you take into account that lions actually sleep most of the time, then it means that Simba would have no time to sing songs, as he'd need to spend every waking second scarfing every grub he could get his paws on. It would be such a volume of grubs, that Timon and Pumbaa would probably end up starving too, as Simba tried to eat everything.

Whether or not Disney will deal with this obvious oversight in their planned remake of The Lion King is unclear, though unlikely. The studio announced they had signed Jon Favreau, director of The Jungle Book to helm a "live-action," which we assume means "life-like CGI" version of the classic story. The new version will likely make some significant changes to the animated version, spending a bit more time with Simba as he grows up, a period the animated film sings us through at high speed, would actually make a lot of sense.

If you're mathematically inclined, do these numbers work out for you? Let us know what you come up with in the comments below. Does The Lion King have any other aspects of it that don't work under scrutiny?

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.