Lions are the only felids with distinct appearance differences between the genders. Males are larger with trademark manes. They are built to defend the pride’s territory. Females are smaller and sleeker, built to hunt. They provide food for the pride. Most lions are a tawny brown and sport a small tuft at the end of their tails. They are the second largest big cat in the world, behind certain species of tigers.
Habitat & Diet
Lions formerly inhabited a range that included all but the most arid regions of Africa, along the Mediterranean to Greece and as far east as India. Today, they habituate the open plains and bush of the Serengeti throughout Central and South Africa. There is also a small population in India. They are pack hunting carnivores that subsist almost exclusively off of large mammals. They also scavenge and have been observed following vultures to freshly dead animals.
Lions are the most social feline species in the world. They live in prides that can number from a handful up to 30. The females form the stable family unit that the pride is based on. Usually, a pride will have no more than four males, and one or two is much more common. When a male comes to maturity, around two or three years old, they will often be excluded from their birth pride and become nomadic. They will either find acceptance in a new pride or live out their lives as nomads.
Meet our Residents
- Despite their reputation as fierce, regal hunters, lions spend about 20 hours a day resting.
- Lions are the only species of cat that lives in groups called prides!
Status In The Wild
Lions are classified as Vulnerable in the wild. They live in many protected ranges throughout Africa. There is even a park in India where the last of the Asiatic lion subspecies live in the wild. However, human encroachment and big game poaching continue to send their populations on a downward slope.