Breaking News
Home » Mammals » Lion


Order Carnivora, Family Felidae- Panthera leo
Lions are independent of surface water and in dry areas they get moisture from prey they kill and eating tsama melons. Lions are primarily nocturnal ambush predators but are highly adaptable and will change times and techniques depending on opportunity. They will also scavenge and in some areas lions have been known to scavenge more than they kill.
A lions best sense is its sight and immediately when disturbed the lion will stare in the direction of the disturbance. The early warning signs include flattening the body against the ground in a crouched position, ears back and tail flicking. More serious signs include snarling and hissing. Charges may be sudden or precede by a high trot towards the threat. More often than not charges are not followed through. If you encounter lion on foot try to avoid detection. If the lion becomes aware of your presence do not move away immediately. Stand your ground and allow the lions to react. If the initial reaction is a charge raise your arms up or clap your hands and shout  to intimidate the lion. Only once the lion/s have settled down and the initial reaction is over should you begin to retreat. Every charge that follows (and sometimes there may be many) you should repeat the above. Always face the lions and throughout the encounter talk firmly to your guests reminding them not to run.
The male and female will generally leave the pride to mate and mating can take place at any time in the year. Mating will last for 2-4 days and at the peak of the mating period they will mate every 15 minutes. Lionesses will have usually have 2-3 cubs after a gestation period of 3,5 months. She will leave the pride for 4-8 weeks for the birth of the cubs which weigh 1.5kgs at birth. The females will remain with the pride or may be evicted to begin another pride elsewhere depending on the current size of the pride. Each pride has an optimum size for the prey that they specialize in hunting. More lions improve the chances of a successful hunt, but when prey items are small, there is too much competition for the prey once caught. Females will have their first litter between 3-4 years of age and on average live for 15 years. Males are evicted from the pride between 2-4years of age and seldom reach more than 10 years of age. For the first few years after eviction they are typically nomadic, looking for other nomadic lions to form a pride and looking for vacant territory or territory where the male/s feel they can conquer the  resident male/s. Males often form coalitions because 2 medium strength lions can often defeat 1 very powerful and experienced lion. However when there are too many males in a coalition there is a lot of conflict over the mating rites with the females and so, as with pride size, coalition size also has an optimum. Most often coalitions are between 2-3 males but up to 7 has been recorded in Botswana. Once males have a territory and females their main task is securing the perimeter and preventing other males coming in and killing the cubs in an attempt pass on their own genes. When the males are defeated by rival lions they are forced to once again become nomadic and hunt for themselves. This is usually the beginning of the end for males and although they may kill and scavenge enough to survive another few years, sooner or later they are killed by other lions or starvation.
Pride bonding is very important in lions and takes place on a daily basis. Bonding activities include walking up and collapsing on another lion, nuzzling and playful banter in the younger lions. Roaring as a pride is also thought to be an important component of bonding.
Vocalizations include a roar that is over 110decibels and can be heard from at least 5 kilometres. They also grunt growl and snarl. They cannot purr.