Referred to many as the lion, the king of the jungle commands attention and respect in his kingdom. Weighing approximately 180kgs mostly muscle weight, it gives him a competitive advantage over the other carnivorous mammals in the world. The lion is relatively fast but mostly its strength which comes in handy while out hunting.
Lions are the second largest big cat species in the world (behind tigers).
They usually live in groups of 10 or 15 animals called prides.
Lions can reach speeds of up to 81 kph (50 mph) but only in short bursts because of a lack of stamina.
Male lions are easy to recognize thanks to their distinctive manes. Males with darker manes are more likely to attract female lions (lionesses).
Lions go on the hunt for food mostly from dusk till dawn. Female lions do 85-90% of the prides hunting, whilst the male lions patrol the territory and protect the pride.
In the wild, lions live for an average of 12 years and up to 16 years. They live up to 25 years in captivity. In recent years, the life span has continued to decrease due to the rising numbers of poaching and human –wildlife conflict.
The color of a lion’s coat varies from region to region, and within populations. However, it is found that lions that live in areas where it is either cooler or have higher humidity levels tend to have darker fur – such as the desert-adapted lions in Namibia and the black-maned lions of the Kalahari. You also get white lions, but these are not true albinos but are rather genetic variants with strongly reduced pigmentation.
That said, it’s shouldn’t be a surprise to know that the lion is the king of the roar – it is the loudest of any big cat and can be heard up to 8km away! Lions roar for a number of reasons, from advertising territorial ownership and intimidating rivals, to locating other members of the pride and assisting in social cohesion. Another advantage to roaring is that female lions can recognize the roar of a male who belongs in their pride to that of an outsider – this helps the females keep a safe distance from outsiders who would most likely try to harm their cubs.