African Lion

The Lion, or as it is commonly known, the "King of Beast", is the apex predator of Africa. Being the second largest in the "Big Cat" genre, it is only surmounted is size by the tiger. However, this does leave them without worry or care. Competing predators like hyenas are the "thorn in every lion's side".

Panthera Leo

The African Lion is from the family Felidae and one of the four "Big Cats". It is the second largest, surpassed only by the tiger. Males are easily distignguished by the manes and can weigh anywhere from 150-225 kg (330-225 lb.) Females are maneless and tipically weigh wnywhere from 120-150 kg (260-330 lb.). These animals do not very in color, excepting the manes of male lions which may vary from a savannah brown, dark brown to black.

Lions are highly adaptable and range from Africa to southern parts of Eurasia. They survive in deciduous forests and semidessert regions, but they favor savannahs, grassy plains, open woodlands and scrub country. In Africa, they are found in regions south of the Sahara desert.

Lions are nocturnal creatures and seldom hunt during the day (they prefer the dim light of dawn or the pitch black african night) though, they can be active at anytime. Being the Apex pedators of the African continent they tipically prey and the larger herbivors, such as gnu, water buffalo, zebra, warthogs, gazzelles, antelopes and hartbeests. Occasionally, other predators like baboons or hyenas will be killed, as well. Carrion is also seized usually from other predators, mainly hyenas and African wild dogs. In case of extreme hunger they have known take down full grown male elephants. Lions will not be successful in the hunt until they age of two. Lack of the endurance forces these them draw as near as 30 m (98 feet) before launching an attack on their prey. Hunting in groups enhances the probablility of success. Males account for aproximately 12 percent of the hunting, with the bulk being left up to the females. This is because the male lions role is more that of Guardians of the Pride (which in many cases, is the most critical responsibility.

Lions are the most social of all the felids, with plenty of licking, rubbing and fondling. They are most often found in groups known as "prides" which may consist of up to forty members, mostly females and cubs. The males of the pride form alliances, which can range from two to six individuals, in order defend the pride from intruding males. Intruders enter the pride by fighting there way in. Once a pride male is slain by a lone male trying to enter, all his cubs are killed off to make way for new offspring sired by the champion. The Dominant males spend most of their lives sleeping (up to 20 hours a day). In their few hours of wake time they are usually eating or away marking the boundaries of their territory. Despite the fact that they are of the same species no benevolence can be found between neighboring prides. Both males and females will kill the opposing party members at the earliest opportunity.

By Marcel Raphael.
Voice over by Dr. Brian Child, associate professor of the Department of Geography in the University of Florida.
Copyright 2006.