Wildlife Wednesday - Lions

This week we're going to talk about an animal I know you've heard of, lions!
male lion
Although this is a pretty well known animal, I hope I've still got some fun and interesting facts to share with you about this majestic creature. Let's get started!
sleeping lioness
Lions live in Southern and Eastern Africa. There is also a very small population of Asiatic lions living in India.
Lions are the 2nd largest cat species. Only tigers are larger.
An average male lion weighs about 400 pounds. Females are much smaller at just under 300 pounds on average.
young lion playing
Lion live about 12 years in the wild.
Lions spend about 16-20 hours of the day napping and resting.
Lions can run up to 50 mph, but only for very short distances.
young lions wrestling
Both male and female lions can roar. The sound can be heard from 5 miles away.
Lions can go 4-5 days without water.
The darker a lion's mane, the more likely he is to attract a lioness. The mane gets darker as the lion ages.
male lion
A lion's mane isn't just for looks and attracting a mate. It also protects the neck when they fight rival males for control of the pride.
Lions are the only social felines and live in groups called prides. Prides usually have about 15 members. Females and their cubs make up the majority of the group.
Not all lions live in prides. Some males live on their own for several years as nomads, until they are strong enough to take over a pride. Young males will sometimes form bachelor groups until they're ready to challenge a pride leader.
resting lions
Lions are predators. They will hunt animals ranging in size from mice and hares to zebras and giraffes. Bigger prey is preferred because it can feed the pride longer.
Lions usually hunt at dawn and dusk.
Female lions do the majority of the hunting. About 85-90 percent. Being smaller and lighter than the males they are faster and more agile.
lioness and cubs
Males don't often hunt. Instead they are in charge of patrolling and protecting the pride's territory. They also protect the cubs while the lionesses hunt.
Although males don't do much hunting, they eat first. Cubs eat last.
lioness and cub
Lions hunt as a team. The females surround the prey in a semi-circle. The weakest hunters herd the the prey toward the center and the strongest hunters take it down.
Lions often steal kills form other animals like hyenas, leopards and cheetahs. For some lions scavenged food is a significant portion of their diet.
lioness
Lions usually have 2-3 cubs. They weigh only about 3 pounds at birth. Lions are fully grown at about 5 years old.
Baby lions have rosette shaped spots and sometimes even stripes when they are born.
Lions are able to start hunting at about age 2. This is also the age male cubs are driven out of the pride. 
young lions
Without their fur, lions and tiger have extremely similar bodies. Only experts can tell them apart.

The whisker spots on a lion are unique to each lion and can be used to identify individuals.

felt lion ornamentLion Portrait - Handmade Animal Art

Want a felt lion of your own? You can find Oscar the Squshies lion here or our lion portrait here