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Lions are large carnivorous mammals that belong to the family of felines. They have a tawny coat with a long tufted tail. Male lions have a large mane of darker-colored fur surrounding their head and neck. Lions are the only cats that have this obvious difference between males and females.
Keep reading for more lion facts or download the comprehensive worksheet pack which can be utilized within the classroom or home environment.
Facts & Information
Origins of the Lion
- The lion, Panthera leo, is a large cat native to Africa and India.
- Lions vanished from the regions of North Africa and Southwest Asia until the late Pleistocene but were the most common large land mammal after humans around 10,000 years ago. They were mostly found throughout Africa, Eurasia, and the Americas.
- It is said that lions and all other members of the cat family evolved from a common ancestor known as Proailurus Lemanensis, which means “first cat”.
- Proailurus Lemanensis was a small, compact creature, about the size of a domestic cat, with a long tail and sharp semi-retractable claws. According to some research, this creature was also the ancestor of mongooses, civets, and hyenas.
- However, these animals already faced extinction around 25 million years ago during the Late Oligocene and Miocene epochs.
- On the other hand, Pseudaelurus, another ancestor of lions is a prehistoric cat that lived 28 million years ago. These animals evolved from this small serval-like (medium-sized wild cats with tawny, black-spotted coats, with long necks and legs) creature about 20 million years ago.
- It gave rise to four species of cat-to-cougar-sized felines as they spread across Eurasia from their origins.
Characteristics of Lions
- Lions have powerful forelegs, teeth, and jaws that they use to pull down and kill prey.
- Adult males have shaggy manes that come in various colors, from blond to reddish-brown to black, and their coats are yellow-gold.
- It is said that age, genetics, and hormones are likely to influence the length and color of a lion’s mane.
- Lions have powerful jaws with 30 teeth in total, including four fang-like canines and four carnassial teeth that are purposefully suited for shredding through the flesh of their prey.
- A fully grown male lion is approximately 6-7 feet long and weighs at least 170-230 kilograms, whereas the female or lioness is smaller, measuring 1.5 meters in length and weighing 120-180 kilograms.
- Lion cubs are helpless and blind after they are born. They have a thick coat covered in dark spots that usually fade as they mature. Cubs can start following their mothers after they are around three months old and are able to wean by six or seven months.
- Lions are a unique member of the cat family for they are the only cats that live in groups, also known as a pride.
- A pride’s members usually spend the day in numerous scattered groups that may come together to hunt or share a meal.
- A pride is made up of several generations of lionesses, some of whom are related, as well as a lower number of breeding males and their cubs.
- The group can have as few as four and as many as 37 members, but the average size is around 15.
- Lions mark their territories with their scent as well as by roaring. Some prides have been known to use the same territory for decades, passing it down from generation to generation of lionesses.
- Lions are extremely territorial, occupying the same territory for generations. Lionesses constantly defend their territories from other lionesses that pose a threat, while resident males defend prides from rival coalitions.
- The size of a territory is determined by the abundance of prey, as well as access to water and denning sites.
- On the other hand, male lions and lionesses only interact when mating. Male alliances control territory for a longer period of time than single lions.
- Male coalitions of three or four individuals exhibit a clear hierarchy, with one male dominating the others and mating more frequently.
- Lions can be found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, open plains, dense brush, and even dry thorn forest.
- With the exception of a small population of the Indian lion subspecies that remains in India’s Gir Forest, lions now only live in Africa, from the Sahara Desert’s southern fringe to northern South Africa.
Lion Conservation Efforts
- Several factors influence the survival of lions around the world. A few examples include habitat loss, food shortages, sport hunting, retaliation killing over livestock, and climate change. These have resulted in population decline, inbreeding, and disease.
- The majority of ranchers are opposed to lion conservation efforts because they believe these animals endanger the lives of humans and livestock. As a result, the lion population has plummeted to around 35,000, representing a nearly 90 percent decrease, particularly in Africa.
- Another way to help conserve the lion population is through education about issues like conservation, habitat restoration, trophy hunting prevention, and retaliatory killings.
- Several organizations and programs have been established with the aim of protecting and conserving the lion population.
- One of these is the National Geographic’s Big Cat Initiative, which focuses on reducing lion hunting. They also provide medical care to snared lions, and conduct anti-poaching patrols.
- Furthermore, “Walking for Lions” is an organization that works to reduce human-wildlife conflict. WFL is working on a number of projects, including the construction of bomas to assist ranchers in protecting their livestock from lions, reducing the likelihood of retaliatory killings.
- On the other hand, despite all the conservation efforts that many people have made, some people continue to endanger the lives of lions by holding them captive and forcing them to perform in circuses to entertain people.
- Lions do not belong in and should be freed from circus shows because they are forced to live in small and cramped cages.
- This deprives lions and tigers of opportunities to fulfill their basic needs to exercise, roam, and play.
- Young lions grow up with their mothers in the wild, but animals used in circuses are frequently separated long before they would naturally part, causing emotional distress for both mothers and cubs.
- Their most fundamental social and psychological needs have been shattered. They’re dragged around circuses, forced to perform during the day, and forbidden from any kind of watering hole.
- Adult male lions are generally solitary animals, but circuses ignore this fact by forcing them to live in unnatural and frequently incompatible groups, which can result in fights and injuries.
- In order to save these animals from the cruelty of circus shows, stand up for big cats, elephants, and all other animals used in circuses by pledging to support only animal-free circuses that use talented, willing human performers to entertain audiences.
- This is to show circus promoters that animal cruelty is not entertaining and should not be treated as such.
This bundle contains 14 ready-to-use Lion Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Lions, which are large carnivorous mammals that belong to the family of felines. They have a tawny coat with a long tufted tail. Male lions have a large mane of darker-colored fur surrounding their head and neck.
Download includes the following worksheets:
- Lion Facts
- Lion Ancestors
- Role in the Pride
- Curious Title
- Lions in Cultures
- Lion Arts
- Lions in Movies
- Lion Maze
- Lion Acrostic
- Lion Conservation
- Lion Review
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Link will appear as Lion Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, March 26, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.