Often called the King Of the Jungle, the African Lion is one of the world’s biggest cats, and has long ruled much of the African savannah. The males spend a lot of their time resting in the shade and protecting the pack when necessary, while the lionesses are the hunters, going out and bringing back prey to sustain the pack.
Lions are truly fascinating creatures, sharing many of the same habits of the house cat, with few other predators to watch out for while roaming the grasslands looking for new places to rest and prey to hunt. Here are some other interesting facts about the African Lion.
All In One Place
There are two lion subspecies that have been recognised by scientists. One is the Asiatic Lion, or Panthera leo persica. The other, is the African Lion, or Panthera leo. The latter is found throughout much of Africa below the Sahara Desert, while the Asiatic Lion is only found in Gir Forest National Park, which is in the country of India. Lions used to be more widespread across the world, but the majority of lions are only found in Africa.
The Male’s Mane
Male lions are famous for their thick manes. These manes can grow as long as 16 centimetres in length and are primarily used as a sign of dominance of the pride. As the lion ages, their mane becomes darker and darker. It’s speculated that the mane is also used to protect the lion’s neck and head from injuries when they engage in physical confrontations, as well as for attracting lionesses.
Lions Eat A Lot
Lions are large creatures, with fully grown male lions weighing 160 kilograms on average. They need this much weight in order to bring down the large prey that they hunt, but also to protect their prides from other big cats and scavengers. But maintaining this weight means that a lion needs to eat a lot – and they do, and a male lion can eat around 40 kilograms of meat in a single setting. They also use the sharp barbs on their tongues, which are called papillae, to scrape off any excess meat found on bones.
Most lionesses will only go hunting after night has fallen, just like we prefer to enjoy Soccer World Cup betting in bed. They are well-adapted to hunting in the darkness, with eyes that can see prey easily, while the prey has little chance of seeing the lion coming. But lions will also hunt during storms. The wind and thunder make for the perfect cover to stalk up to a prey animal and bring it down without it noticing.
Of all the cat species in the world, lions are the only ones that are known to roar together. Even the cubs join in, and the session can last for up to 40 seconds at a time. The roar can be heard from more than 2.5 kilometres away, and it’s a way for the pride to collectively mark their territory.