- Lions are found in savannahs, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands. At one time, lions could be found throughout the Middle East, Greece and even in Northern India.
- Today, only a small population of lions live in India. Most lions can be found in Africa, but their numbers are becoming smaller because of the loss of habitat.
- Lions can grow to 48 inches in height and weigh between 300 to 500 pounds.
- Lions live the longest in capitivy. They can reach 25 years of age when cared for in zoos or preserves. In the wild, their existence is much harder and many lions never reach the age of 10.
- Lions live in groups that are called prides. 10 to 20 lions may live in a pride. Each pride has a home area that is called its territory.
- Lions do not allow strange animals to hunt in their territory. A territory can be as large as 100 square miles (260 square kilometres).
- Lions are carnivores, which means they live on meat. Their prey consists mainly of large mammals such as wildebeest, impalas, zebras, buffalo, and warthogs in Africa and nilgai, wild boar, and several deer species in India. Mice, lizards, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles also form part of a lion’s diet.
- Because they often take over kills made by hyenas, cheetahs and leopards, scavenged food provides more
than 50 percent of their diets in areas like the Serengeti plains.
- The females do the hunting, but the males will help if the females are having difficulty killing a large animal. The male, however, if the first to eat. When the male is finished, the females and the cubs may eat.
- A lioness is a female lion. They are ready to have young when they are 2-3 years old. Litters consist of two or three cubs that weigh about 3 pounds each. Some mothers carefully nurture the young; others may neglect or abandon them, especially when food is scarce.
- Usually two or more females in a pride give birth about the same time, and the cubs are raised together. A lioness will permit cubs other than her own to suckle, sometimes enabling a neglected infant to survive.
- Baby lions are called cubs. Cubs are born after 3 1/2 months. lions become fully grown between 5 and 6 years. Lions do not have a den where they live for a long time. The mother moves around with her cubs.
- Most cat species live alone, but the lion is the exception. Lions live in a social group called a pride. The average pride consists of about 15 individuals, including five to 10 females with their young and two or three territorial males that are usually brothers or pride mates.
- While the females do the hunting and care for the young, the males patrol the territory and protect the pride.
- Lions love to rest and relax. They spend time rubbing heads, purring and licking each other. But when it comes to food, each lion looks out for itself. Lions also like to squabble and fight with each other.
- Lions are the laziest of the big cats. They usually spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting.
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