Introduction Of Lion
Looking to see some lions in the wild? Lions are the king of the jungle and can be found in parts of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Although lions once roamed throughout most of Africa and much of Europe and Asia, they now occupy less than 30% of their historical range due to human activity such as hunting and habitat loss due to land conversion to agriculture. Today’s lions are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened species. Learn more about lion characteristics, habitat, & facts in this article.
The lion is a species of mammal in the family Felidae. They are among only three big cats that are considered to be truly social. The lion inhabits much of Africa and parts of India. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, dry savanna, and moist savanna.
While lions once existed throughout Eurasia and North America, today they can only be found in sub-Saharan Africa and one small population in western India’s Gir Forest National Park. Lions were once found from Southern Africa into Arabia but it has been extinct in their northern range since around 100 BC.
The lion has a muscular body with a tawny coat. It has dark brown rosettes and a black mane. Lion cubs are spotted, but their fur loses its markings as they get older. The male’s mane serves as protection for its face when it hunts; it protects him from scratches while he attacks prey or fights other lions to protect his territory or pride of females and their cubs.
Lions are excellent swimmers that can dive up to 20 feet deep in search of prey such as fish and crocodiles. They also hunt at night, which is when they are most active. Lions can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour over short distances.
How Lion Prey
African lions hunt at night. Lions’ eyesight is very good, but they rely on sound to track their prey. They attack in teams of 2 or 3 cats and can take down animals as large as Cape buffalo. When hunting big game like giraffes and zebras, lions jump onto their backs and wrestle them to death.
After a successful hunt, all pride members will eat their fill, including those who did not participate in taking down the prey. The male lion gets the first choice and then it is taken by his family. The rest of the pride can only eat what’s leftover. Even though lions are bigger than most other cats, hyenas are known to steal from them if given an opportunity.
Lions live in the grasslands and savannas of Africa, including those within mountainous terrain. Some lions also inhabit rainforests. Lions have been known to roam as far north as Aswan in Egypt and as far south as Maputo on Mozambique’s coast. They once occupied most of Africa north of Sub-Saharan countries but are now confined primarily to reserves or game parks.
The southern limit of their range is defined by a circle passing through central Kenya, northern Tanzania, and Zimbabwe extending up to 20 degrees south latitude. This boundary divides African forest from savanna habitat. Most species living within these regions are considered either vulnerable or endangered according to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
King of The Jungle
A roaring predator, it’s easy to see why lions are dubbed the king of the jungle. A mature male lion can grow up to nine feet long and weigh in at seven hundred pounds. It is also one of Africa’s most powerfulpredators. Lions live in African savannas and grasslands. They are known for forming feelings of pride—groups of five to thirty females with their cubs that work together for protection against other lions, hyenas, and humans. To sustain a population of lions, an area must have an annual prey intake of over seventy-five kilograms per square kilometre and a minimum space requirement per lion of two hundred square kilometres.
- In the wild, they only live around 10 years.
- Their roars can be heard from 8-10 miles away and are lower than a human’s voice but louder.
- A baby cub is born blind and deaf and must weigh at least 2 pounds to survive.
- At birth, it also has spots so other lions don’t attack it thinking it is a rival lion.
- It drinks colostrum from its mother for a week before developing teeth and can eat meat after about 3 weeks when it begins to act more like an adult lion as opposed to a cub.
- From ages 4-7 they do not have full-grown manes and cannot roar until then.
- An adult male weigh between 450 – 650 lbs while females average 230 – 400 lbs. If a larger male that already has his pride tries to take over another pride, he will kill all of their cubs.
- One litter of cubs is usually born every 1-2 years and there can be anywhere from 1 – 6 cubs per litter depending on how successful food hunting was during that period or whether or not that particular female had twins before she became pregnant again.