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Our Family of Lions

 

 

This "King of Beasts" once roamed over most parts of the world including Africa, North America and Eurasia. Today, however, they are restricted to the savanna, open expanses, and grassy plains of Africa, and to a small area of western India. There are about 23,000 - 39,000 lions in the wild today. Just ten years ago that number was closer to 50,000.  The shrinking numbers are due to hunting and overpopulation of humans.

 

The Lion is the only cat that lives in large social groups, shares its territory, and regularly hunts together. The Lion's diet consists of wildebeests, antelope, zebras, wild pigs, buffalo, impalas, and other hoofed mammals. The Lionesses do all the hunting in large number of groups or pairs. Prey will be approached with stealth until it is in range, then the cats will lunge and kill the prey by biting its neck. Lions are the dominant carnivores in their habitat and will drive away competitors or even kill them.

 

The Lion's head and body can be up to eight feet, two inches, and tail up to three feet, five inches. Its weight can be up to 550 pounds.

Lions are primarily ground-dwellers, but occasionally jump up tree branches. Most Lions will remain in the same territory all year long, however some are nomadic and follow the seasonal prey.

 

Lions live together in a pride based upon a group of related females (Lionesses) and their cubs. Surprisingly, the pride is led by a dominant female. When a new male joins a pride it will drive away the other males and kill any remaining cubs, then mate with the females to produce his own offspring.

A Lioness will give birth to up to six cubs after a gestation period of 15-17 weeks. All of the Lionesses in the pride share in the rearing of the cubs and the males may even be playful with them.

 

Common Name: Lion
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata (Vertebrata)
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Pantherinae Panthera
Species: Leo

 
Did you know... Lions and Tigers have two tiny openings called a jacobson's organ on the roof of the mouth(to help them smell). By opening their mouths wide, the cats allow the scent to be identified when it enters the brain.