10 Facts About Lions That Show How Amazing They Are
Did you know that lions love to socialize?
Lions are majestic creatures — they are the kings of the jungle, after all. But there are plenty of things you might not know about them. Like, did you know that you can learn a lot about a lion from his mane?
Check out our list of 10 facts about lions to learn more (and find out what their manes can tell you).
10 amazing facts about lions
1. Lions are the second-largest cats in the world
The only cat who’s bigger than a lion is the tiger. Lions can grow to be around 10 feet long from their heads to their tails and 4 feet tall at the shoulder. They weigh between around 250 and 550 pounds, with females being smaller and lighter than males.
2. Female lions do most of the hunting
The female lions in a pride (family group) do the majority of hunting. Males will sometimes join if they’re hunting larger prey, and they work together. A few lions will stalk their prey together from different angles so they can surround them.
Not only do females hunt, but they also guard the territory and cubs, while the males are mainly responsible for reproducing and protecting the pride from invading males. Males also sleep more than females. So it goes without saying that female lions basically run things.
3. Lions don’t live in the jungle
These “kings of the jungle” don’t actually live in the jungle. Most lions live in the sub-Saharan part of Africa in the savannah, plains or grasslands.
Lions have adapted to their habitats over time. For example, the tan color of a lion’s coat allows him to blend in with the desert and savannah, and lions who live in the desert tend to have smaller manes to keep them cool.
There’s one population of lions who do live in the forest — they can be found in Gir Forest National Park in western India.
4. Lions are the only cats who live in groups
Lions live in prides. Most cats (wild and domestic) are solitary hunters, but lions are actually very social animals. Lion prides can have up to around 40 lions, and they’re made up of a dominant male, females and their cubs, and about two to three other males.
Females will usually stay in the same pride they were born into, while males will be forced to leave when they’re around 2 to 4 years old so they can’t compete with the pride’s dominant male. Males will then form a group and search for a pride to take over.
5. Lions raise their cubs communally
Female lions in the same pride often give birth around the same time, and they form a crèche, which is a nursery group where they raise their cubs together. Mothers will nurse any cubs in their crèche, not just their own. The main purpose of these groups is to allow the mothers to protect their cubs from lions outside of the pride who may try to hurt them.
6. You can tell a lot about a lion by his mane
A lion’s mane gets darker as he ages, and the thickness and color show how healthy he is. A thick, dark mane means the cat is strong and powerful. Manes make lions look bigger to impress mates and intimidate rivals.
There are some male lions who don’t develop manes, though, to adapt to hot climates.
7. Lions have no natural predators
Lions are apex predators, which means they’re at the top of the food chain. Their only predators are humans. Other apex predators include sharks, tigers, jaguars, king cobras, brown bears and saltwater crocodiles.
Apex predators like lions are super important to maintaining ecosystems because they control the rest of the predators and prey in their area. Removing apex predators or forcing them to move to a different habitat disrupts entire ecosystems.
8. Lions are really loud
A lion’s roar can be heard up to 5 miles away! Both males and females roar, and there are different types of roars to communicate different things.
Males roar to protect their territory, warn their prides of danger and show dominance among other males. Females roar to communicate with males during mating periods. Lions will also roar to let members of their pride know where they are. A time when lions don’t roar is during hunting, since the sound can scare away prey.
Lions are also the only cats who roar together in a calling sequence, with multiple lions joining in.
Along with roaring, lions use other sounds to talk to each other, such as growls, snarls and grunts.
9. Lions are nocturnal
Lions are nocturnal, which means most of the time they sleep during the day and are active at night.
10. Lion populations are decreasing
Lions are listed as vulnerable to extinction, and there are only around 23,000 left in the wild. They now live on only 8 percent of the land they once had as a habitat.
Lion populations are decreasing due to trophy hunting and human expansion into their land. As humans continue to take over their habitats, the population of their prey also decreases.
How you can help lions:
- Donate to wildlife conservation organizations, like the African Wildlife Foundation or the Lion Recovery Fund.
- Don’t buy any products made from poached lions.
- Don’t support organizations that use lions as entertainment.
Lions are amazing and beautiful animals, and it’s important to protect them so future generations can love them, too.