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Lots of Lions

  • Lion cubs weigh around 2 to 3 pounds when they are born, and are quite helpless for the first few months of their lives. Fewer than 50% of lion cubs in the wild grow up to be adults, as the conditions for lion cubs are harsh. Lions are greedy eaters, and the hierarchy of the pride is seen when a fresh kill is brought to the group. Male lions are at the top of the hierarchy, followed by females, then lion cubs. Lions become independent around 30 months of age, so anytime before then is precarious for their survival. 


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  • Lions are most well-known species of the cat family, and the male lion is perhaps the most recognizable. While they have the reputation of being the king of the jungle, male lions are actually very lazy - and they never live in jungles. 

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  • Lions are sociable animals, and live in groups called prides. For African lions, these groups consist of one to three males, up to a 12 females, and their offspring. Female lions are the primary hunters and catch prey in twos or threes, while the male lions protect the pride. Male lions tend to stay in a pride for 3 to 4 years, while lionesses stay together for much longer, keeping the pride together.

    Asian lions live differentlyt o this, dividing into all female or male groups, which only meet during mating season. 

  • Fully-grown male lions can range between 150 - 250 kilograms, more than tripling in size from birth to adulthood. 

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  • Lions' roars are one of the most powerful calls in the animal kingdom. Lions roar to ward off rivals from entering their territory, and to let members of its pride know where it is. Lions' roars can travel up to 8 kilometers, and can be as loud as claps of thunder during a storm. 

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  • Male and female lions are polygamous, and mate with different partners during the years. Lionesses in the same pride will usually give birth around the same time, so the litter of new lion cubs will be raised communally. There is a feeling of shared responsibility, and the lionesses will share babysitting duties with the other mothers, including suckling the cubs of others. 

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  • Male lions reach maturity around 3 to 4 years of age, and must leave the pride where they were raised. They will either form groups with other males from the pride, or leave to roam on their own until they find a pride to take over. If a young male finds a suitable pride, he may challenge the existing male in the group to a fight, and if the newcomer wins, kill all the pride's cubs so that the females must mate with their new leader. 

  • Lions have the most complex communication behaviorof all the cats. Their noises include roars, growls, moans, snarls, hums, woofs, meows, and even purrs (they are big cats after all). 



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  • The most distinctive feature of lions is the male's mane, which exists to make the lion appear bigger to rivals, and more attractive to females. The bigger and darker a lion's mane is, the more likely he will be to find a mate (and the older he is). While African lions have large, thick manes, Asian lions usually have smaller, thinner manes

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  • Newborn lion cubs are usually born in litters of 2 to 4. Before the lioness gives birth, she will leave to an area isolated from the rest of the pride. She stays there for 4 to 8 weeks, looking after the cubs while they are at their most vulnerable. The pride can be a dangerous place for newborn cubs if a new male takes over the group, for he will most likely kill all cubs. 

  • Male lions are typical patriarchs: they sleep for up to 20 hours a day, depend on the females to catch food (although if roaming alone, male lions can hunt well for themselves), and are use violence to establish themselves as the most powerful. 

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  • Lions' diets are made up entirely of meat. Grown male lions require 7 kilograms of meat per day to survive, and females require 5 kilograms. Lions usually hunt animals such as wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and gemsbok, refraining from targeting larger animals such as elephants - although they certainly will go for them if given the chance. Lions only successfully catch prey 30% of the time, and have no problems with stealing the kills of other animals. Once they do have food, they're greedy eaters, and have been known to gorge themselves into food comas. 

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  • Lions are typically nocturnal or crepuscular, which means they become active at dawn and dusk. During the day, lions spend most of their time sleeping. They can sleep for up to 20 hours each day. This is to avoid the heat of the day, to preserve energy, and the lack of prey at this time. 


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  • Lions love to live in open spaces, and will live virtually anywhere except rainforests. Lions can live on savannas, in thick brush, woodlands, along watercourses and in deserts. Today, they are found in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, although historically they were found all over the world. 


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  • During the first few weeks of the lives of lion cubs, they are transported by their mothers by being picked up gently at the scruff of their neck. Although lionesses have the ability to crush an antelope's skull in her mouth, she treats her offspring with surprising gentleness. The lion cubs cooperate by staying still and not struggling - for if they do, the consequences may be fatal. 

  • Lion cubs are born with blue eyes, which change to amber and then brown around the age of three months. 

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  • African and Asian lions are usually colored tawny to sandy brown. This isn't an accident – these colors help the lions to blend into the environment around them, and go unnoticed by prey. 


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  • Lions are social and playful creatures, and will play and tumble around with each other. When the pride is sleeping during the day, they tend to lie together, rubbing their heads and playing. This strengthens the bond of the pride. 


  • While most lions are a shade of sandy brown, white lions do exist. White lions can only be born if both parents have a recessive mutation in a gene which makes colored pigments called melanins. Lions with these genes are called leucistic, where there is partial white pigmentation, rather than albino, because there are still some areas of pigmentation (like the eyes and lips). White lions are rare, but they can survive to adulthood. 



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  • While most of the big cat family are solitary, lions are sociable by nature and love to be around each other. Some brothers and sisters can stay together throughout their whole lives. 

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  • All lions have a distinctive black tuft at the end of their tails. These tufts develop around 5 months of age, and hide the last vertebrae of the bones in the lion's tail. While the purpose of these tufts is not known, lions' tails play an important role in balancing the lion and helping with aerodynamics – just like domesticated house cats. 

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  • Lions have terrific night vision and their eyes are 6 times more sensitive to light than humans' eyes. 

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