African Lion

Panthera Leo

African Lion

Weight: Males ±220kg, Females ±145kg's
Longevity: 12-15 years in the wild and up to 21 years in captivity. 

Behavior

African lions are diurnal and nocturnal, however they are extremely lazy and can sleep for up to 22 hours per day. Lions are most active during the cooler hours of the day, early mornings and evenings, during the hotter hours of a day they can be found resting in shade. 

Lions can be found in all African eco-systems however they seem to favor open savanna and woodlands. 

The males are responsible for marking and defending the territory, where the females are assigned with raising the cubs.

Social Structure

African lions are the most social of all the big cats and live in a family grouping called a pride. The prides can number between 5-40 individuals. The prides are made up of one or more dominant males, lionesses which form a hierarchy and are usually related, and their young.

The young males are pushed out of the pride at about 2-3 years old, these young males can join coalitions with other young males to try ensure their survival. When these lions reach adulthood they will challenge other dominant males in order to take over the pride.

Diet

Lions are entirely carnivorous, they will hunt and scavenge for their food. Lions prey on most other herbivores but favor larger general game species. Lions have been known to hunt hippo, rhino, crocodile, and elephant on occasion.

Contrary to popular belief, both males and females do hunt. Lions being social animals have adapted to hunting in groups. They will set traps for their prey and set decoys to chase their prey into an ambush of the other lions.

Lions have also been known to use human objects such as cars and roads to catch their prey. They will trap the prey among the cars or use the roads to trip their prey.

Males can eat up to 50kg's of meat in a single sitting however they require 7kg's of food per day.

Breeding

Lions breed through out the year, usually giving birth to 4-6 cubs. The gestation period lasts for up to 3,5 months.

Threats

Lions biggest threat is humans. Through habitat loss and poaching, the lion population numbers are plummeting. As few as 200 lions still remain in West Africa, with the biggest populations living in Southern and Eastern Africa.