Closely related to the tiger, jaguar and leopard, the
male African lion rests for around 20 hours a day, leaving it
up to the females to hunt. They live in prides of normally around
five or six females, any cubs and perhaps one or two males who may
stay for a few years before moving on, often after losing a battle
with a new, more dominant male.
When a new male
lion joins a pride he will normally kill all existing cubs from
previous relationships as this will extend his time with the
female knowing that if he were to allow the cubs to live one day
one of them will either kill him or drive him out.
The African lion becomes sexually mature at two
years old, has no particular mating season, and has 2-5 cubs at a
Their gestation period is typically 110 days
however only around one out of every five cubs reaches the age of
2yrs as their mortality rate is high. At the age of 2yrs they will
leave the care of their mother.
The Africa lion's diet consists of basically any prey from
impala to giraffes and hogs, even rhinos and hippos. They remain
wary of the size of elephants however have been known to attack
when food is scarce. They also eat smaller mammals such as hares
and won't think twice about stealing kills made by hyenas and wild
dogs. Most kills are made by strangulation or by suffocation with
the lion clamping its own mouth over that of its prey.
They will establish a territory of
approximately 100 square miles and mark out that territory with
the smell of their own urine and faeces together with roaring that
can be heard for up to six miles to ward off intruders and other
Despite this they are rarely active during the
days, preferring to hunt during the cooler nocturnal period of
early evening and morning spending their days instead sleeping,
copulating (up to 40 times a day!) and being affectionate with
other pride members; being noted as one of the most sociable of
the Big Five animals.
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