Male and female lions

African lion (Panthera leo)

lion cub

Scientific Name: Panthera leo

Common Names: Lion, Leeu, Le lion, Leone, Tau, Onghoshi, Xammi, Undayu

Description: Lions are the second largest feline predator, with tigers being the biggest.
Large cats with short tawny coats, whitish underparts, and long tails with a black tuft at the end. They are sexually dimorphic and male lions are the only cats with manes.

Male lions start to grow manes around 3-years of age, and manes vary in color from black to light tan. Adult males typically weigh 189 kg; the heaviest male on record weighed 272 kg.

Cubs have brown spots on a grayish coat until the age of three months and spots may remain on stomach.

Difference in Sex: Males has manes and are much larger.

Average Weight of Adults: Adult males typically weigh 189 kg; the heaviest male on record, weighed 272 kg from Mount Kenya. Females weigh 126 kg on average. The average male height is 1.2 m and the average female height is 1.1 m. Length ranges from 2.4 to 3.3 m and tail length ranges from 0.6 to 1.0 m; the longest male lion recorded was 3.3 m from nose to tip of tail.

Habitat: Range from savannahs to bush.

Habits: Very social, groups (pride) are up to thirty lion big, but usually smaller than 10.

Main feeding time: Nocturnal and diurnal

Size: 120 cm height at shoulder

Gestation: 14 weeks

Number of young at birth: 1 to 5 cubs

Communication: Roars and grunts.

Age: between 15 and 25 years

Diet: Generally meat, but any protein including insects. Scavenge quite often.

Enemies: The adult lion is at the top of the food chain and only the cubs are venerable to hyaenas, leopard, jackals, and humans. 'Vulnerable' status and population rapidly decreasing due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Interesting facts: The lions of the Etosha National Park in Namibia are considered of the largest in the world.

Credits: Ranger Chrigi