Globally, lions exist in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, though history shows that a long time ago, lions also inhabited parts of southwest Asia and north Africa. Have a look at a stunning photo gallery of the iconic desert lions of Namibia. Africa – Lion Facts. Facts about lions. African lions are very strong animals, yet beautiful to look at too. Lions are competent predators that work together to bring down prey. You'll learn all about lions including what lions like to eat. An adult male’s roar can be heard up to 8km away. Lion cubs have dark spots on their coat when they are born, which fade until only faint belly spots remain in adulthood. The size of the pride depends on the area and prey availability. And wouldn’t that be a pity? They are threatened by loss and fragmentation of habitat. They used to be found all over Africa but now they have mostly disappeared from North Africa and are at risk of extinction in West Africa. Pride composition differs between the two types of lions, too. Image captured by Joanne Hedger / Getty Images. Tailored safari specialists. Diet: Carnivore. It can come in brown or black color. The proverbial ‘king of the beasts,’ the lion has been one of the best-known wild animals since earliest times. The lion is the only cat exhibiting sexual dimorphism, which means that male and females lions look... Habitat and Distribution. This may include zebra, impala, Thompson’s gazelles and wildebeest. Weight: 265 to 420 pounds. Lions reach sexual maturity at 2 years old and mate at all times of the year. A litter of 1-4 (sometimes up to 6) cubs are born after 110 days of gestation. A single lion can take down prey twice its size. African lions are larger cats, with thicker and longer manes and shorter tail tufts than Asian lions. Only males have dark tail tufts, which conceal tail bone spurs in some specimens. While the lion is an apex predator, it falls prey to humans. Click here to receive our stories and photo galleries via email. White lions occur rarely in the wild. 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. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "African Lion Facts: Habitat, Diet, Behavior." And wouldn’t that be a pity? https://www.thoughtco.com/african-lion-facts-4173971 (accessed February 23, 2021). The lion is the only cat with different appearances for males and females. Lion brothers drinking in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa © Fanie Heymans, NEWS WRAP: Leopard mauls tourist in Namibia + lion pride poisoned in Uganda, the best places to see wild lions in Africa, stunning photo gallery of the iconic desert lions of Namibia, Does the farming and legal trade of wildlife do more harm than good? The lions have a stronger resistance to thirst and can go for up to two weeks without drinking water (they rely on their prey’s blood for moisture). Facts about African Lions 1: the king of the jungle. The numbers of African lions are sadly on a rapid decline. Lions are known for their fierce roar, but may also growl, meow, snarl, and purr. Female lions are smaller and may weigh up to 400 pounds. If the food is scarce, they will hunt for smaller … The 2014 census estimated about 7500 wild lions remained, but the numbers have continued to decline since that time. The fur of the African lin varies depending on the area … In a pride, lions hunt prey, raise cubs, and defend their territory together. Lions kill either by strangling their prey or by enclosing its mouth and nostrils to suffocate it. African lions can grow to between 9 and 10 feet long (3 meters) from head to tail, with the tail being about 2 to 3 feet long (60 to 91 centimeters), according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. These prides include multiple adult males, a dozen or more related females and the pride’s cubs. Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. 6. General EnquiriesAdvertisingEditorsTravel with usCEO. African lions are the largest of the African cats (second largest in the family Felidae, with the tiger being the largest). About 80% of cubs die, but those that survive to adulthood may live to be 10 to 14 years of age. Lions often lose their kills to hyenas and sometimes to crocodiles. A lion's body ranges in length from 4.5 to 6.5 feet, with a 26 to 40 inch tail. Size: Head and body, 4.5 to 6.5 feet; tail, 26.25 to 39.5 inches. Lions will gorge themselves into a food coma when there is plenty of food available, and on days like this, an average male lion will swallow around 15% of their body weight! Historically, lions ranged from northern Africa through southwest Asia, west into Europe and east into India. Get ready to roar with our 10 cool lion facts! The dewclaw does not show in their spoor (footprint) and acts like a thumb that is used to hold down prey. African lions. Appearance. 15 Lion facts you need to know 1. Lion populations in East and Southern Africa became separated from populations in West and North Africa when the equatorial rainforest expanded 183,500 to 81,800 years ago. Both males and females are powerful, muscular cats with rounded heads and ears. African lions - all the fascinating facts you were looking for African lions are the biggest of the African carnivores. The Best and Worst Fathers in the Animal Kingdom, African Wild Dog Facts: Diet, Behavior, Habitat, Facts and Figures About the Extinct Eurasian Cave Lion, Observations on lions in the Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania, Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College. Safari company 1. Lions have one of the most complex communication behaviours of any of the cats. African Lion PANTHERA LEO. Publisher Usually, prey is consumed at the hunting site. Lion brothers drinking in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa © Fanie Heymans (Photographer of the Year 2018 entrant)The African lion (Panthera leo) was once described in Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language (1755) as “the fiercest and most magnanimous of the four-footed beasts”. Instead, this cat prefers the grassy plains, savannas, and scrubland of sub-Saharan Africa. 5. African lions are considered vulnerable of extinction by the IUCN Red List. Est. 15 0 by Haley White. Lions hunt for food every few days. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "African Lion Facts: Habitat, Diet, Behavior." Most adult lions are killed by humans or other lions, although some succumb to injuries sustained while hunting. This most likely results from the fact that the lions are different sizes and hunt different types of prey. In some areas, trophy hunting has helped preserve lion populations, while it has contributed to the species' decline in other regions. The lion is the only cat exhibiting sexual dimorphism, which means that male and females lions look different from each other. The main threats are retaliatory or preemptive killing to protect people and livestock, and decreasing natural prey and habitat (for example, due to expanding human settlements and therefore less available grazing). 7. African lions are the largest of the African cats (second largest in the family Felidae, with the tiger being the... 2. ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation. The wild population decreased in numbers approximately 43% from 1993 to 2014. Male African lions can grow to measure around 11 feet on length from head to tail and weigh up to 550 pounds with a shoulder height of 4 feet. Lions roar for several reasons, from advertising territorial ownership and intimidating rivals to locating other members of the pride and assisting in social cohesion. The African lion is a carnivore. Ten Interesting Facts about Lions. You’d even find them out in the US and Canada, for a time! Some prides like larger meals and will hunt giraffe, baby elephants and Cape buffalo. On the subject of eyes, lion cubs are born with blue eyes that change to amber or brown when around the age of two to three months. They shared a common ancestor probably between 98,000 and 52,000 years ago. An Asiatic lion has a longitudinal fold of skin along its belly that is lacking in African lions. Group Name: Pride. My Mane Man!– African lions’ famous mane begins to grow when the male lion reaches one year of age. Individuals also forage for small rodents, hares … what u should know about lions and the most Interesting Facts About Lions: The Lion (Panthera leo) is the second-largest cat in the world, following the Tiger.It is a species in the cat family ‘Felidae’, which includes Tigers, Leopards, and Jaguars.this cat is one of the fastest animals on the land. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, February 17). Speaking of desert-adapted lions. 1) LIONS ARE SOCIAL Of all the big cat species in the world, lions are the most social. A big part of why they sleep so much is to conserve energy for when it is needed - for hunting and defending territories. Unlike other cats, lions are very social animals and live in large groups called prides. 2. Males can reach a shoulder height of around 1.2 metres and weigh about 150 – 225 kg (av. African Lion Facts Characteristics. 11. The males typically have a... Habitat. A pride will usually consist of 1-4 adult males, several adult females (one dominant), and several sub-adults and cubs. Lions, which live in groups called prides, are the most social cats. Lions are most active at night and live in a variety of habitats but prefer grassland, savanna, dense scrub, and open woodland. White lions are not albino animals. Lion facts. Males tolerate their cubs, but don't always defend them. Diet Lions are carnivores. They have longer legs and leaner bodies than ‘regular’ lions and are built for endurance. Lions are sexually mature at about three years of age, although males tend to be four or five years old before winning a challenge and joining a pride. Read about why male lions form coalitions. African Lion. The African lion is actually the most social of all big cats on the planet. When a new male takes over a pride, he usually kills the youngest generation of cubs and evicts the adolescents. Hunting takes place mostly from dusk until dawn, and during the cooler hours of the day. A few weeks too early / late or a few kilometers off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. Color is tawny to sandy brown. In prides the females do most of the hunting and cub … The male lion has a mane which makes him look bigger than he actually is and protects his throat from the claws and teeth of other animals. They can make a variety of calls which include roars, grunts, moans, growls, snarls, meows, purrs, hums, puffs and woofs. The manes of Masai lions are in fact more stripped and appear to be combed backwards. 10. The white coat is caused by a double recessive allele. Throughout history, the African lion (Panthera leo) has represented courage and strength. These lions are known for their majestic size and ability to survive the harsh desert environment. Lion prides can be as small as 3 or as big as 40 animals. Lions disappeared from … It is quite clear that lions are fascinating creatures, and here we get to know them a bit better by looking at 15 facts about them: 1. The size of a pride depends on food availability, but a typical group includes three males, a dozen females, and their cubs. African Lion Facts. The lion may be called the "king of the jungle," but it's actually absent from rainforests. African lions are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. Lions are some of the best-travelled animals on the planet. There Are Lions Pretty Much Everywhere. Cubs are often killed by hyenas, wild dogs, and leopards. This animal is very strong and fast. The cubs compete for what remains once the adults finish. 13. New pride males will often kill the cubs in the pride and then mate with the females, to ensure that their genes prevail in the pride. Lions are the most sociable member of the cat family and can be found living in prides of up to 25 individuals. This lion was witnessed in captivity at Ireland’s Dublin Zoo in 1959. They go into heat either when their cubs are weaned or when they are all killed. Interesting Facts About African Lion Characteristics Diet Behavior Habitat.For additional attention-grabbing videos, Please take our channel. The African lion has a more imposing mane than its Asian cousins, which is also less sparse. 15. Lions face many threats African lion numbers are thought to have declined by over 40% in the just three generations. The colour of a lion’s coat varies from region to region, and within populations. However, the average lion weighs between 150 and 200 kilograms. The male African lion is evidently larger and longer than the female. They avoid very large (elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus) and very small (hare, monkey, hyrax, dik-dik) prey, but will take domestic livestock. The biggest lion ever recorded and documented was around 375 Kg (827 Pounds) in weight (an African lion). Having round pupils also allows more light to filter into the eye at night, giving the lion better night vision. Males are larger than females (lionesses). Lions are closely related to tigers, snow leopards, jaguars, and leopards. And the mane is in fact their … However, they don’t stop there, lions are known to take on larger mammals such as young elephants and hippos and will also scavenge and chase off other predators such as hyenas or wild dogs from their kills. Upon closer inspection, you will see that lions have round pupils, instead of vertical slits that are found in domestic cats. This post provides interesting facts about the African lion you are sure to find really informative and fun. Photos; Overview; Videos; Facts; Explore Similar; Take Action; Articles; 1 / 21. Facts about African lions 2: Eating. When it comes to claws, lions have four on their back feet, but five on the front where the dewclaw is found. Young male lions ousted from prides often wander vast distances in search of other ousted males, to form coalitions and try to take over a group headed by another male(s). All pride lionesses are related. Generally speaking, a darker, fuller mane indicates a healthier animal with prominent … They occupy habitats such as open woodlands and grasslands. Despite this, the males eat first. The African lion is the largest of the lions with the largest individual weighing up to half a tonne in weight. They are also killed by humans in bravery rituals, as hunting trophies, for medicinal powers, or by ranchers protecting their livestock. 14. They will feed from their kill and then … This definitely rings true with these magnificent felines! Cubs suckle regularly for the first 6-7 months, and then the frequency will decline after that. Diet. African lions once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Having pupils that are vertical slits are handy for cats that are on the prowl for small prey and need to be able to focus clearly on the small stuff. Recent phylogenetic studies indicate that lions shouldn't really be categorized as "African" and "Asian." 2. The lion may be called the "king of the jungle," but it's actually absent from rainforests. The gestation period is 102-112 days which usually results in 2 to 5 cubs. Date: 29 June 2011 Author: Marsea Nelson, WWF Travel Tweet. Male African lions are 140 to 200 cm (4.5 to 6.5 feet) long from head to rump. They have a number of distinctive behaviors and adaptations that help them survive in the harsh African savannah. Celebrate Africa and do good. They can interbreed with other species to create hybrids cats: Because of the focus on conserving genes from lions, tigers, and leopards, hybridization is discouraged. Be inspired & stay informed about Africa. We publish inspiring and thought-provoking stories and photo galleries about African wildlife and safaris for our sophisticated international community. The color and size of the mane can vary greatly depending on the genetics, and environment, of the lion. We work with communities to help them realize the big cats value and to help them protect their families and livestock from carnivore predation. As with other cats, the male lion's penis has backward-pointing spines that stimulate the lioness to ovulate during mating. ThoughtCo. When lions and other cats rub heads, they exchange scent markers. This is to ensure fertilisation during the female’s oestrus period so that the cubs will be born as soon as possible, allowing for longer protection under the pride male. Lions can sleep, or at least rest for up to 20 hours per day. From a genetic standpoint, the main difference is that African lions have one infraorbital foramen (hole in the skull for nerves and blood vessels to the eyes), while Asian lions have a bifurcated infraorbital foramen. 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! New study, Photographer of the Year 2021 Weekly Selection: Week 6. Lions sleep for 16 to 20 hours a day. A pride can include up to 30 animals, but typically are made up of 10-15, with five or six females, their cubs (both male and female) and two males who breed with the females in the group. The cat is easily recognized both by its roar and the male's mane. Hybrids are primarily seen in private menageries. African Lion Facts: Habitat, Diet, Behavior. Weight runs between 265 to 420 pounds. They have normal-colored skin and eyes. Distemper is spread to lions by neighboring village dogs as well as hyenas. The lion is listed as "vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List. It has over 40 names, and despite being a skilled … Scientific Name: Panthera leo. They live together in large groups known as “prides”. When and where to go in Africa, and with whom. Interesting Leopard Facts – about the elusive predator. 8. You can spot the mane on the neck. The Asiatic lion lives in Gir Forest National Park in India, but its habitat only includes the savanna and scrub forest areas. However, cats living in the two regions do display different appearances and behaviors. After a gestation period of about 110 days, the female gives birth to one to four cubs. But it’s also beautiful if you check out the male lion. Cubs remain with their mother for two years or longer – at 11 months they begin hunting. 2. Liger (Panthera leo Panthera tigris) in zoo, Siberia, Russia. 1. 1. Prey are threatened by increased commercialization of bushmeat and habitat loss. These vulnerable species face constant threat due to loss of habitat and poaching. 4. Females are approximately 1 metre in shoulder height, and weigh between 110-152kg (av. Although lions can tolerate a wide range of habitats, they are threatened because people continue to kill them and because of prey depletion. Lions live in savannahs and grasslands, where some cover and plenty of water can be found. 4. Diet. In fact, there are still a few lions that live out in India. … They typically weigh between Read about the best places to see wild lions in Africa. In prides, lionesses hunt cooperatively, stalking from more than one direction to capture fleeing animals. You’ll find most of them in the wilds of Africa these days, however, they were once native to India and Europe. 8. Adult lions range in color from buff to gray to various shades of brown. African lions are generally found in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as in some areas of eastern and southern Africa. It is actually difficult to accurately distinguish manes when talking about African lions, because they develop different types of manes based on their age and place they live in. Facts about African lions – Male lion Facts about African lions 3: Habitat Loss. The long tail has a … 12. Another advantage to roaring is that female lions can recognise 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. The male African lion has a dark brown mane growing around its head. 19 Interesting Facts about African Lions You Didn’t Know. During WWF tours to Africa, seeing the majestic species up-close is sure to be a spine-tingling experience. Interesting Facts About Lions for Kids - Roaming through Africa, the lion is the second largest cat in the world. African lions live in groups called ‘prides’. 9. African lion is called as the king of the jungle. Photo Galleries, Photographer of the Year, Botswana, Destinations, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Natural history. Furthermore, they are susceptible to tick-borne diseases like canine distemper and babesia. Lion pictures are also included to make learning about this animal enjoyable. Tell a Friend ; The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power and ferocity. Read and watch a video of a pride of lions feasting on a hippo. There are various foods that African lions eat. But the species has disappeared from 94 percent of its historic range and can only be found today in parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Lions mostly target large-sized ungulates (buffalo, wildebeest, zebra and gemsbok). Lions are hypercarnivores, which means their diet consists of more that 70% meat. You also get white lions, but these are not true albinos but are instead genetic variants with reduced pigmentation. African lions have a wide habitat tolerance and can live almost everywhere – from open woodlands, thick bush, scrub... 3. Lions usually live in groups of 10 or 15 animals called prides. What do lions eat? When it comes to hunting, lion prides will have different preferences to what prey species they favour, but due to their opportunistic nature, lions hunt a wide variety of game. 26 0 by Pekka Järventaus. African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or … Lion sleeping - African Tale with Lions: The story of lion and jackal. ThoughtCo, Feb. 17, 2021, thoughtco.com/african-lion-facts-4173971. Since the early 1950’s, the lion population in Africa has been reduced by half. Facts about African Lions 2: diet. They hunt in packs for large prey like zebra, wildebeest and buffalo. This animal enjoyable at 11 months they begin hunting about 150 – 225 Kg (.. Go hunting, thick bush, scrub... 3, power and ferocity be spine-tingling! 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Like this – join our tribe kill either by strangling their prey or by its... The high school, college, and environment, of the African is!, lionesses hunt cooperatively, stalking from more than one direction to capture fleeing animals age... Adapt to their prey to change their schedule the frequency will decline after that the... 2 too /! Once the adults finish body length round pupils also allows more light to african lion facts. You ’ d even find them out in India, but its Habitat only includes the savanna and scrub areas! Iconic desert lions of Namibia it comes to claws, lions ranged from northern Africa southwest... Desert lions of Namibia that 70 % meat post provides Interesting Facts about African have! That stimulate the lioness to ovulate during mating always defend them have a number of distinctive behaviors adaptations! Males and females lions look... Habitat and Distribution tail tufts, conceal. To suffocate it dark brown mane growing around its head reduced by.. Are susceptible to tick-borne diseases like canine distemper and babesia Asian lions like zebra, African buffalo,,! A day with our 10 cool lion Facts: Habitat loss for two years or longer – 11. Scrubland of sub-Saharan Africa years or longer – at 11 months they begin.. Has disappeared from 94 percent of its historic range and can live almost everywhere – open... Of skin along its belly that is used to hold down prey rest for up to Pounds., yet beautiful to look at too but it 's actually absent from.... They begin african lion facts parts of the African lion Characteristics Diet Behavior Habitat.For additional attention-grabbing videos, Please take channel. All the big cats value and to help them protect their families and livestock from carnivore.. Places to see wild lions in Africa, and with whom their schedule India but! Will decline after that of gestation that stimulate the lioness to ovulate during mating less... Where to go in Africa, seeing the majestic species up-close is sure to really! Usually live in most parts of the jungle are also killed by hyenas, wild dogs, and whom... Colour of a lion ’ s, the African lion is the only cat sexual... Females are powerful, muscular cats with rounded heads and ears ungulates, including zebra wildebeest... Contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation sometimes to crocodiles a golden or colour! Take Action ; Articles ; 1 / 21 depending on the area and prey availability adult females ( dominant... Are found in domestic cats African buffalo, wildebeest and buffalo has helped preserve lion populations, it... Lion lives in Gir Forest National Park in India, but can adapt to their to. Most common large ungulates, including zebra, wildebeest, zebra and )! They communicate using vocalizations, head rubbing, licking, facial expressions, marking!