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Lions are big cats known as the King of the Jungle. They are found in Africa and India where they sit at the top of the food chain.
- African lions - The scientific name for the lions in Africa is Panthera leo. There are lions located throughout much of the middle and southern portions of the African savanna.
- Asiatic or Indian lions - The scientific name for the lions in India is Panthera leo persica. These lions are only found in the Gir Forest of Gujarat, India. These lions are endangered as there are only around 400 left living in the wild.
The Lion Pride
A group of lions is called a pride. Lions are the only truly social cats. A pride of lions can range from 3 lions to as many as 30 lions. A pride is usually made up of lionesses, their cubs, and a few male lions. The lionesses do the majority of the hunting while the males mostly guard the pride and provide protection for the cubs. The lionesses work together to hunt and can bring down large prey like water buffalo.
How big are they?
Lions are the second biggest cat behind the tiger. They can get up to 8 feet long and over 500 pounds. The male lions develop a large mane of hair around their neck, which distinguishes them from the females. The males are generally larger than the females as well.
What do they do all day?
Lions lay around most of the day resting in the shade. They will store up energy for short intense bursts of hunting where they can run extremely fast for short periods to capture their prey. They tend to be more active and hunt around dusk and dawn.
What do they eat?
Lions are carnivores and eat meat. They can take down just about any decent sized animal. Some of their favorite prey includes water buffalo, antelope, wildebeest, impala, and zebras. Lions have been known to occasionally kill large beasts like elephants, giraffes, and rhinos.
Baby lions are called cubs. Cubs in a pride are taken care of by all the other members of the pride and may nurse from any of the lionesses, not just their mothers. Young males will be driven out of the pride at the age of 2 ½ to 3 years old.
Fun Facts About Lions
- Lions are famous for their loud roar which can be heard up to 5 miles away. They can make such a loud roar because the cartilage in their throats has turned into bone. They tend to roar more at night.
- The lion is taller than the tiger, but doesn't weigh as much.
- The lion's main competitor for prey in Africa is the spotted hyena.
- Even though the female lions do the hunting, the male lion often gets to eat first.
- They are excellent swimmers.
- Lions will live about 15 years in the wild.
African Lion Cubs
For more about cats:
Cheetah - The fastest land mammal.
Clouded Leopard - Endangered medium size cat from Asia.
Lions - This big cat is King of the Jungle.
Maine Coon Cat - Popular and large pet cat.
Persian Cat - The most popular breed of domesticated cat.
Tiger - Biggest of the big cats.
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