The lion (Panthera leo) is known as the king of animals. But after the tiger, it is only the second biggest predatory feline in the world.
Nevertheless, the muscular lions do not stand for power and strength for nothing – and are the most social cats there are.
How Loud Do Lions Roar ?
Lions roar mainly at dawn and dusk to mark their territory. The bloodcurdling lion roar can be heard about eight kilometers away. However, the lion is not the loudest animal in the world. This record is held by the pistol shrimp, which puts its prey out of action with a bang that is more than 200 decibels loud.
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Lions Are Long Sleepers
Lions sleep up to 20 hours a day. This is made possible by their diet: the carnivores consume a relatively large number of calories in one go.
A hungry lion can eat up to a fifth of its body weight during a single, extended meal, i.e., depending on its size, it can consume about 30 kilograms of meat.
Lions : the Only Predatory Cats in the Pride
Lions are the most social among the cats, they live as the only ones in groups. All other big cats like tigers, cheetahs, jaguars or leopards are loners. But hunting prey many times larger than the lion itself requires teamwork. And together, the huge territories can be better defended: In prey-poor regions, a lion’s territory can be up to 5,000 square kilometers.
Lions Like to Play
Facial expressions and body language of lions are highly developed. Social activities and communication among themselves play a major role for the big cats. To greet each other, lions rub their cheeks and even adult animals often play with each other.
Lions Are Lewd
When it comes to sex, lions can’t get enough. They do it loudly, aggressively and almost continuously during the mating season. During the rut, males and females stay together the whole time and mate about every quarter of an hour. Around the clock, over several days, about 40 times a day and a total of about 300 times per heat. However, a single act lasts only about 30 seconds.
Why Do Male Lions Have a Mane
Unique to cats is the impressive mane of male lions. In fights it protects the neck and dampens paw blows. Mainly, however, the lion’s mane has probably evolved evolutionarily to impress the females. After all, it shows whether the male is a good match: the darker the mane, the better the lion’s nutrition, health and testosterone levels.
Lions Have a Fingerprint
The whisker pattern of lions is as unique as the human fingerprint. No two are alike, and the arrangement of the dark spots is different for each lion. This makes the animals clearly identifiable in camera trap photos, for example.
Lions Are Catwalk Models
Lions have an elegant gait: when walking, their heels do not touch the ground; the big cats are toe walkers. Hot!
The Lion Is Its Own Worst Enemy
At least in the animal kingdom: lions are so-called top predators. They are at the top of the food chain and an adult lion has no natural enemies. Danger, however, comes from within their own ranks – in competitive fights and for their offspring. For male lions often kill foreign cubs when they take over a new pride. Much greater, however, is still the threat from humans and the dwindling habitat.
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Lions Are the New Tigers
Unfortunately, this is true for traditional Chinese medicine: Where the supposedly healing and potency-enhancing tiger bones are in short supply, lion bones are increasingly being used as a substitute. This is driving the poaching of lions ever higher.
Could the King of Beasts Soon Become Extinct ?
If it goes on like this, yes! Lions are considered to be in danger of extinction. In the last 25 years, we have lost 20,000 of only 40,000 of all lions living in the wild. Habitat loss, lack of prey and poaching are steadily shrinking populations.
Lions Are Not Only Found in Africa
Today, lions live mainly in the savannahs, dry forests and semi-deserts of southern Africa. But there are also lions in Asia, or more precisely in India: a small remaining population of the last 500 or so Asiatic lions in the well-known Gir National Park in the Indian state of Gujarat.
Lion Protection Means Cattle Protection
Mubuso Kakambi is a lion guardian in Botswana in southern Africa. That also means she builds secure fences to protect cattle from the predatory cats. That’s because the closer people settle to protected areas, the more frequently lions encounter settlements and livestock on their migrations.
If cattle and goats that are not adequately protected are attacked, the so-called “lion problem” is threatened with being shot. Preventing this is one of Mabuso’s tasks.