Lions are not called the “king of the jungle” for nothing. They have existed on earth for 2 million years or longer. Male lions can reach a length of 10 feet and weigh between 300 to 500 pounds or more! Female lions are a little smaller. Lions inhabit a range of open plains and forests. Lions are actually the most social of the feline species. Lions hunt large animals such as zebra and wildebeest. The lifespan of lions is 15 years and up to 25 in captivity. They are Africa’s largest carnivore. Female lions give birth to a litter of cubs every 2 years. The gestation is three and half months. A litter could have 1-5 cubs and they nurse for the first 6 months. A group of lions is called a “pride.”
Male lions will mark their territory with urine as do domestic felines. Female lions actually do most of the hunting. The hyena will compete with the lion for prey. Lions face endangerment and have for many years from hunting and habitat. Only the male lions have the long, shaggy mane. The fuller and darker the mane the healthier the lion. Believe it or not lions are listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Unions Red List of Threatened Animals. Lion cubs are born with grayish spots that disappear at 3 months. Male lions reach sexual maturity at 5 years of age and females mature at 4 years old. If a lion roars you can hear it 5 miles away. There were white lions in the late 20th century.
Lions don’t hunt during the day. They hunt at night right through till dawn. A female lion needs 11 pounds of meat a day. A male needs 15 pounds or more a day. Lions can’t roar until the age of 2. Lions have a tendency to pick up poisoned meat and then get poisoned themselves. If one lion kills another when joining a pride the defeated lions cubs will be killed. In the lion pride the strongest eat first. The males will eat until they are satisfied then the lioness eats and the cubs are last. The cubs will usually die from starvation. To avoid fatal results in a fight weaker lions will lie on their back signaling defeat. Lions were said to be kept in the tower of London! Lions will fiercely defend their pride from other lions.