Learn more about these fierce and powerful cats with these Lion Facts.
- African lions are the most social of big cats and only ones live together in groups or “prides.” A pride consists of about 15 lions.
- Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Despite this, the males eat first.
- These majestic cats are threatened by habitat loss. The lion is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- The lion was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now exists only in Africa with one exception. The last remaining Asiatic lions are found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India, which was primarily created to protect the species. Currently, there are approximately 350-400 lions in the park.
- A lion’s roar can be heard from as far as 5 miles away.
- A lion can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet.
- Even though the lion is sometimes referred to as the “king of the jungle,” it actually only lives in grasslands and plains. The expression may have come from an incorrect association between Africa and jungles or may refer to a less literal meaning of the word jungle.
- A good gauge of a male lion’s age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
- A lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks.
- Lions enjoy relaxing and lazing around. They spend between 16 and 20 hours each day resting and sleeping. They have few sweat glands so they wisely tend to conserve their energy by resting during the day and become more active at night when it is cooler.
- Lions have terrific night vision. They are 6 times more sensitive to light than humans. This gives them a distinct advantage over some prey species when hunting at night.
- Lionesses are caring mothers who will even take care of a neglected cub, allowing him/her to suckle and giving them a chance to survive. Two or more lionesses in a group tend to give birth around the same time, and the cubs are raised together. Cubs are extremely playful.
- Lions communicate through a range of behaviors and their expressive movements are very highly developed. They will perform peaceful tactile actions such as licking each other and rubbing heads. Head rubbing, or nuzzling, is a common greeting behaviour for lions. They also communicate through a variety of vocalisations including purrs, snarls, miaws and hissing. Their vocalisations also vary in intensity and pitch.