Panthera leo

Lions belong to the genus, Panthera, the same as leopards and tigers. The common characteristic is their ability to roar due to a voice box which is suspended by an elastic ligament (suspensorium) at the top of the windpipe. This permits vibration and sound magnification. The lion, aka the “King of the Jungle” is the apex predator of the African savanna. It’s most active at night when it hunts. It does so to capitalise on its excellent vision which is six times better than mans after sundown.

Conservation status : Vulnerable
Height : Male 1.2m, Female 1m
Weight : 200 kg up to 260kg, Female 130 kg up to 180 kg
Life span : 10 to 15 years
Gestation : 3.5 months
Young : 1 to 6

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When new male lions take over a pride one of their first acts may be to kill all the cubs under one year old. This is to bring the females into heat quickly.

A lion can run at a top speed of 22.2 metres per second which they can reach in five strides and maintain for up to 100m.

When a stalking lion is spotted by its prey it will sit up and act innocently.

A lioness goes through a period of infertility after the pride is taken over by incoming males. This may be an adaptation to see if the males are not just passing through.

A lion’s roar can be 114 decibels and travel up to 8km in good conditions.

Lions regularly bring down prey two times their own body weight with some even tackling a buffalo which can weigh four times as much.

Lions will mate continuously for four days and nights averaging 2.2 times an hour with each coupling lasting approximately 20 seconds. For every cub that reaches the age of one the mother would have mated 3,000 times.

A lion’s eye sight matches that of a human during the day but at night it’s over six times better. They are aware of their competitive advantage, so much so that even when they are hungry they stay inactive when it is negated by a full moon.

Lions will not pass up the opportunity of a free meal and scavenge when they can. So much so they will follow up on hyena calls and vulture activity to see what it may offer.