Lions - Asiatic Lion - Information, Range and Habitat
Male African lions can grow up to 9' in length.
Another characteristic of lions is that not only are adult males
females (adult males 415 lbs., females 277 lbs.), they possess
manes. The male's chief role in the pride is to defend territory
females from other males. Size is obviously an advantage, but increased
size requires more food. The bulky mane gives the appearance of
greater size without increased weight. The mane also provides protection
from the claws and teeth of other males.
Forum: Anatomy of a Lion's Roar
Lions are the most social of the cat family. They live in prides consisting of one or two males, up to seven females and 14 or 15
cubs of different ages. Prides occupy territories that they defend
against nomadic lions and other prides; this is done by the dominant
male or males, by means of patrolling and scent marking.
At about 3 years of age, young lions are evicted from their pride;
they normally stay together, always on the move, becoming nomads,
until they take over some other pride, whose male as become too
weak or old, sometimes killing all the existing cubs.
The female normally does all the hunting, usually at night, late
afternoon or early morning. At a kill, the adults will eat first,
with the male sometimes claiming it for himself, and, if anything
left, the cubs will then take their turn. In times of scarcity this
means very little food available for the cubs, and death by starvation.
Scavengers, like vultures, hyenas and jackals,
are attracted to lion kills in great numbers, and in some occasions
a big group of
hyenas will appropriate the kill of a small group of lions.
The contrary also happens, with lions very often steeling from
and jackals, and even climbing up a tree to appropriate a leopard's
Adult males can weight up to 250 Kg and females about 150 Kg. Their
lifespan is about 15 years.
Here to Find Out Where White Lions Come From
Range & Habitat: Thousands of years ago, lions were common
throughout southern Europe, southern Asia, eastern and central India
and over the whole of the African continent. Today, with the exception
of some 300 highly protected animals in the Gir National Park of
India, the only naturally-occuring lions are found in Africa. (But
even in Africa lions have been wiped out in the north; the last
Numidian male was shot as a trophy in the 1930s.) Lions do not live
in heavy forests and jungles and they do not inhabit desert areas
due to a scarcity of game.
Here to hear the Roar
Reproduction and Rearing: Breeding
occurs all year round, with 2 to 6 cubs being born after a gestation
period of about 110 days. The lioness normally leaves the pride
to give birth to her litter, in a sheltered spot where she leaves
them, while hunting. At this stage the cubs are very vulnerable,
sometimes being taken away by scavengers, like hyenas, while their
mother is away.
If, at any stage doubtful about her cubs safety, the lioness will
find another hide, and will transport them, on her mouth, one by
one, to the new location. Once the cubs are big enough to follow
their mother, she will take them to the pride and introduce them
to their father. This is another crucial time in the cubs life,
as nobody can predict the reaction of the male.
Lion's prey include mostly wildebeest, zebra, waterbuck, kudu,
giraffe and buffalo.
They also tend to attack young elephant calves. In difficult times
they will even go for small prey, like porcupine, with disastrous
consequences for both.
Status:As a result of widespread persecution, cats in the
wild have become one of the most threataened major groups of land
animals. Nevertheless, the African lion numbered perhaps 200,000
individuals in 1991. They are generally protected even through
some 150 humans have been mauled in the Gir National Park alone.
Conversely in the Skeleton Coast Park in West Africa's Namibia
the lions are all gone. Some were killed outside park boundaries
by livestock herdsmen; others were forced to leave by drought.