Strong, ferocious and powerful, the big cats are known by a lot of names including the “King of the Jungle.” Throughout history, lions have been a symbol of royalty and hence their king title. They have also been worshiped as war deities. So how much do you know about these second biggest cats (the biggest are tigers)? Take a look at these 10 fun facts about lions to know more about these strong but sociable cats.
#1. Social structure
Lions live in big groups called prides which consists of related females, their off-springs and two or three unrelated males. Usually there are about 15 members in a pride but more member have also been seen.
#2. In the wild
Female lions, their sisters and female cubs live together for life. However, the male cubs must leave and venture out once they have reached maturity. Whenever a new male takes over a pride, it kills all the cubs that aren’t his. Due to this, three-quarters of cubs die at a young age in the wild.
#3. Big cats
Lions are the only cats with manes which gives them a distinctive appearance. It also makes a male lion appear larger and more intimidating. Apart from that, manes also signify health status and sexual maturity. A darker and denser mane is preferred by lionesses.
It is the job of the female lions to hunt while the males protect the pride. They usually hunt together preying mainly on ungulates. But the male is first to eat when they return with their kill.
#5. Caring mothers
Lionesses are very caring mothers and will even look after an abandoned or neglected cub by allowing it to suckle and letting it survive. Since a few of them give birth together, cubs are often raised together who are very playful by nature.
#6. Life span
In the wild, lions can live for approximately fifteen years but in captivity, they can live around 25- 30 years. The last few decades have seen a drastic fall in their numbers due to which they have become endangered.
#7. Relaxing and sleeping
Lions enjoy their time relaxing and lazing around. On an average, they spend around 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping. Due to less number of sweat glands, they can conserve a lot of energy during the day by resting and becoming active at night when the temperature is cooler.
Another advantage of hunting at night is their increased sensitivity to light. Compared to humans, they are 6 times more sensitive to light. This is a major advantage when hunting for preys at night.
#9. Loud roars
Male cubs cannot roar for up to two years. But once they learn to vocalize and become adults, their roar can be heard from 8 kilometers away. They have the loudest roar of all the cat species. This roar is useful in proclaiming their territory and finding other lions. A pride’s territory can be anywhere around 100 square miles or “everything the light touches” if you were to believe Mufasa.
#10. King of the jungle
Though they are “King of the Jungle”, lions don’t actually live in jungles. They live in grasslands and plains and are now majorly found in Sub-Sahara Africa and India, though they roamed the Earth once.