- A male lion’s roar can be heard from up to 5 miles away.
- Though lions can roar, they can’t purr. Cat species can only do one or the other!
- Lions are the only big cat that lives in groups, called “prides”. These can have up to 20 individuals.
- Are the largest African carnivore and joint largest big cat with the tiger, but still take down prey many times their size.
- Females have litters of 1-6 cubs, which will be raised by the whole pride, as lions are co-operative breeders.
Animals — Mammals — Carnivores — Felidae (cat family)
Lions are big cats found in Africa and Asia. The characteristic large mane of the male is unique in the cat family. Their coats are tawny to blend in with their surroundings.
We have African lions at the zoo, as opposed to the Asian subspecies of lion. Asian lions are smaller with thinner manes in males, and have a belly crease.
Lions are social animals, living in groups called “prides”, unlike other cats. A pride is usually several females and one dominant male. However, young males that are not in control of a pride may form coalitions with each other. Strong young males will replace older males that are in charge of prides as they will now be stronger. Due to this, males often aren’t in control of a pride for many years, and males also have a much lower life expectancy in the wild than females.
They are vulnerable to extinction, mostly due to poaching of lions and over hunting of their prey by humans. There has also been significant habitat loss that separates lion populations from each other. As they will scavenge carcasses as well as hunt, they are affected by poisoning which is intended to get rid of predators near livestock.
Habitat: Savannah grasslands, scrublands, and forest.
–Average weight: 159kg
–Average length: 1.8m
In the wild up to: 18 years
In captivity up to: 30 years
Diet: They are carnivores so eat meat. They hunt other animals, such as antelope and zebra.
Distribution: Africa to Asia. They once lived through southern Europe as well.