Lion (Panthera leo)

Lion (Panthera leo) Silhouette

Quick stats of the Lion

  • Diet: - Carnivore
  • Shoulder Height: - 1.1 m
  • Weight: - Male - 217 kg
  • Weight: - Female - 146 kg
  • Lifespan - 20 years

Description

Mature male Lion with large mane of hair © R Hann

Lions are most abundant in areas with high zebra and wildebeest populations, which are their favoured prey. Large animals such as buffalo and giraffe are also frequently attacked and killed by these exceptionally powerful cats.

Young Lion male © R HannAlthough they occasionally make daylight kills, lions are mainly nocturnal hunters, preferring to laze under the shade of trees by day.

Research in Kruger Park has shown that lions are territorial animals, each pride having a fairly defined area in which it will hunt and live. They are social animals living in prides up to 30 individuals.

When ready for mating, a male and female lion will withdraw from the remainder of the pride for several days, during which time they will couple repeatedly, neither hunting nor searching for food. The males especially become irritable and aggressive during this period and need little provocation to attack any intruders.

The females give birth to between two and five cubs. Cubs are well looked after and may sometimes be seen playing affectionately with a resting mother.

Other Names for the Lion

  • Leeu

Distribution

Distribution map of the Lion
Distribution map of the Lion

Taxonomy of the Lion

  • Order - Carnivora
  • Family - Felidae
  • Genus - Panthera
  • Species - Panthera leo

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