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Lion image
Lion

Lion

(Mammal)

Lion Baby
Lion Baby

Lion Habits

Unlike most members of the cat family, lions are social animals that live in prides (family groups) of 20-30 individuals. Some prides include a single male, while others have as many as four. While there is more than one male, the males are most likely litter mates. Males are strongly territorial and will challenge intruders, and lionesses will fight off other females. Males will often fight until one lion is killed. The winner takes over dominance of the territory, and of the pride.
Largest and most powerful of the African carnivores, a male lion in his prime is an impressive sight. Male Lions usually have a tawny mane which gradually darkens with age. Because of their dark manes, old males are known as black-manned lions. When lionesses hunt together, several lie in wait downwind of the herd, while another travels around the herd until she is upwind of it. Suddenly, she breaks cover and chases the frightened herd straight toward the hidden ambush. If hunting alone, a lioness stalks her prey downwind of it. She gets as close as possible without being seen before attacking

Lion Communication

Due to their social nature, lions have one of the most complex communication behaviours of any of the cats. Lions make a variety of calls, each with a grading of volume, intensity, tempo and tone including roars, grunts, moans, growls, snarls, meows, purrs, hums, puffs and woofs.
Lions roar for a number of reasons; advertising territorial ownership, intimidation of rivals, locating pride members and strengthening social bonds. Roaring is most commonly done when the lions are most active, and as such can be heard mostly at night, especially just before dawn.
Lions show little interest in the odour of other species, but olfactory communication between lions is well developed. Anal sniffing is common when greeting, and males often smell females in heat to assess status. Pride males will spend a lot of time urine spraying territory boundaries, and all lions scuff the ground with their rear claws from the age of two-years old.
The greeting ceremony is performed whenever lions meet to reaffirm social ties and confirm pride membership. It begins with the two lions approaching each other, often moaning softly and licking their lips, before rubbing their heads together, and moving on to rubbing each otherís sides, usually with the tail held high or draped over the other lion. Greeting lions often rub against each other so hard that one may be pushed over.

Lion Breeding

After several seasons with a pride, the male becomes restless and may be disinterested in resisting a challenge from a rival male. If he losses, he will search for another pride to dominate.
A lioness has cubs approximately every 2 years. Shortly before giving birth, she chooses a suitable site for her liar, which must be well hidden, safe from potential predators, sheltered, and close to water. The cubs are born blind and have spotted coats. For the first 2 months, they drink only their mother's milk. At 6 weeks, they begin to accompany their mother to the kill, acquiring a taste for meat and learning how to hunt. By 15 months, the cubs can hunt small prey. When the cubs reach 2 years of age, their mother is pregnant again and they must leave her. Some young females may be allowed to remain in the pride, but all the male cubs are driven out by the dominant male. Normally uninterested in females, the male hardly leaves his partner's side during mating season.

Lion Food & Feeding

Lions hunt at dusk. They have excellent eyesight and can see well in the dark. The lionesses usually hunt for the entire pride. While the lion plays little or no part in the hunt, he always takes precedence at the kill, dragging the prey to a chosen spot, then gorging himself before the female and cubs can eat. Hunting is an organized event. During the dry season when water is scarce, lions often lie in wait close to a water hole, waiting for prey to come to drink. Lions prefer to hunt wildebeest and zebra, as these animals are slower and easier to catch than small antelopes and gazelles. When prey is scarce, lions eat almost anything, including carrion (dead or rotting animals). Hunger may drive them to attack larger prey, including giraffe, buffalo, or even rhinoceros, hippopotamus, and elephant calves.

Lion Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Head & body length: 9 ft. Tail: 3ft. (included)
              Weight: 450-550 lbs
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 2 years
             Mating: Most times of year. Lionesses breed every two years
             Gestation: 105-112 days
             Number of young: 2-5 cubs
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Social and territorial, living in family groups. Young males may live in small bachelor groups
            Diet: Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala, Antelope, and Gazelle.
            Lifespan: Wild: 10-16 years. Captivity: 20-25 years

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • A lion's territory is determined by the size of the pride and the availability of prey and water.
  • Lionesses are ferocious when defending their cubs. Several will act together to chase off a predator or an aggressive male lion.
  • Lions kill only when hungry. Their prey can usually sense if lions are out to kill and, if they are not, will often ignore lions wandering close to them.
  • The lion's mane makes his body appear larger and more impressive than it really is, which helps to attract females at mating time and frightens off rival males.
  • Male lions take no interest in the rearing of the young and, on occasion, may even try to kill them.

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