Lions live in grasslands, scrub, or open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. Lions are the second-largest cat in the world. Tigers are the largest. On average, a male lion weighs about 400 lbs. Female lions weigh around 290 lbs.
The heaviest lion ever recorded weighed 826 lbs. Lions can run up to 50 mph but only for short distances. They do not have the stamina to maintain the speed. An adult male lion’s roar is so loud that it can be heard 5 miles away.
Male lions have large manes. Lionesses (female lions) are said to be attracted to males with darker manes. Lions hunt and eat large animals like zebra, wildebeest, antelopes, etc. On average, lionesses need 5kg of meat a day. Male lions need 7kg or more.
Lions living together form a pride. Lionesses in the pride do the majority of the hunting. They hunt in groups which makes it easier to take down prey that would otherwise be too difficult for a single lioness to catch.
Lions have excellent night vision. In comparison to humans, they are 6 times more sensitive to light. This vision allows them to adapt to hunting at night. Lions are known to spend most of their time relaxing and lazing around.
About 16 – 20 hours a day is spent sleeping and resting. Because they have few sweat glands, lions tend to conserve energy during the day and become more active at night.
By the age of 3, lions are able to mate. Gestation periods last around 4 months. A female can give birth to up to 6 cubs. 2 or 3 are more common. Lionesses hide their cubs for the first 6 weeks after birth. Cubs weigh roughly 3 lbs. at birth. They rely on their mother for everything.
Female lions sometimes take care of abandoned or orphaned cubs. Sometimes, two or more lionesses give birth at the same time and the cubs are raised together. Female cubs remain with the pride and are able to hunt at around 2 years. Male cubs are forced to leave the pride at the age of 2.
Lions represent strength and courage. Their likeness is commonly used as symbols for royalty and stateliness. In Africa, the lion population has been reduced to about half since the 1950s. There are fewer than 21,000 lions left in Africa. The lion is listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List. It is one of the most researched cats in existence.
White lions are a rare form with a genetic condition called leucism. A double recessive allele causes the condition. Not to be confused with albinism. Pigmentation remains normal in the eyes and skin.
A white lion’s fur is light blond, but these big cats are not albino. Albino animals lack pigment in their skin and, as a result, have pure white hair and pink eyes. White lions vary from light to dark blond. Their eyes appear blue, green or gold, depending on the light. They have dark-tipped ears and dark noses.
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