African Lion


African Lion Panthera leo

Type of Animal:

Plains, woodland, bush, semi-desert, desert, savanna, scrub, grassland, forest

Many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa except highlands, some deserts, & some forested areas

Males have mane that gets bigger & darker with age, beigish-yellow coloration, long tail.

Favorite prey is hoofed mammals: zebras, buffalo, wildebeest, impala, gazelles, antelope, giraffes, pigs, rhinos, hippos, cattle, horses, donkeys, sheep, goats. Also prey on birds up to size of ostriches, leopard cubs, cheetah cubs, wild dog pups, hyena pups, servals, foxes, chimps, baboons, porcupines, pangolins, rodents, reptiles up to size of crocodiles, rabbits, hares, & hyraxes. Even young & sometimes, adult female, elephants are eaten & a few cases of man-eating lions have occurred. Also scavenges on carrion.

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos & wildlife parks. Reintroduction to areas of former range.

Prides consist of 3-12 related lionesses & cubs plus 1-4 males related to each other but not the lionesses. Nomadic brother pairs, trios & quartets also common. Males rule the pride. Some males solitary.

Additional Info:


Male-400-600 lbs
Female-200-400 lbs
Young-8-15 lbs

Gestation: 3 months

Male-4 ft
Female-3.6 ft

Body Length:
Male-5.7-8.2 ft
Female-4.7-5.9 ft

Life Span: 15 years in wild, up to 25 years in captivity

Tail Length:
Male-2.11-3.5 ft
Female-2.4-3.3 ft

Only predator of adults are crocodiles. Crocodile fights to death w/ lion, whoever loses gets eaten. Cubs preyed on by hyenas, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, jackals, pythons, martial eagles, & strange male lions.

Fights between males during pride takeovers deadly and vicious.

Sexually mature at 2 years old.

Threatened due to habitat loss, persecution as livestock killer/man-eater, killing out of fear, sport hunting, diseases, rites of passage involving killing lions, loss of prey, hunting for meat, poisoning, & mining.

While active any time of day, they have better success hunting at night. 

Males sleep 20 hours a day w/ females doing most of the hunting.

Fun Fact(s):
Roars used to designate pride territory & can be heard up to 5 miles away.

Most lions involved in man-eating were either old or not good at hunting.

Some of most dangerous carnivores in the world, especially w/ man-eating lions. Lionesses w/ cubs & feeding lions also very dangerous.

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