African lion facts

Interesting facts about the king of the beasts, the majestic African Lion.

African lion at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Common Name:

African Lion

Scientific Name:

Panthera leo

Distribution:

Extinct in North Africa. Now found in Africa, south of the Sahara

Size:

Length: Male: 2.6 - 3.3m excluding tail
Female: 2.4 - 2.7m excluding tail
Tail: 60 - 100cm

Weight: Male: 150 - 250kg
Female: 110 - 180kg

Lifespan:

In the wild the lifespan of lions is approximately 15 years, however in captivity it can be as long as 30 years.

Breeding:

Lions reach sexual maturity at 2 years old and mate at all times of the year. The gestation period is 102-112 days which usually results in 2 to 5 cubs.

Lifestyle:

Lions are social and territorial animals who live in family groups called prides

Diet:

Carnivorous, mainly mammals from giraffes to buffalo, deer and carrion

Habitat:

Varied, from grasslands of East Africa to sands of the Kalahari Desert

Status in the Wild:

Range constantly being reduced but not endangered yet.

Special Features:

Lions are unique among cats in that the male can be easily distinguished from the female (lioness) because he possesses a mane of hair. As in most cats, the eyes are adapted for seeing at night when they do a lot of hunting. The claws can be retracted in sheaths to prevent them getting blunted when walking across the savannah, which they can do almost noiselessly on soft pads.

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