Lion

Jeff Foott/DCI

Social groups of lions, called prides, are composed of one to three males, two to fifteen females, and their offspring.

Sometimes young males form their own satellite group.

The males protect the territory and get to eat first; the lionesses do most of the hunting.

They generally stalk and chase their prey, killing with a bite to the neck — although they can also kill with a single back-breaking swat of the paw.

Lions usually hunt at night and spend almost twenty hours a day sleeping or lounging with their playful cubs.

Animal Facts:

Name: Lion (Panthera leo)

Family: Felidae (Cats)

Range: Sub-Saharan Africa; one small group left in northwestern India

Habitat: Savanna, scrubland, and tropical forest

Diet: Mainly large herbivores, like wildebeest, zebra, and impala; also small rodents and reptiles

Head and Body Length: 4.6 to 6.2 feet (1.4 to 1.9 m)

Tail Length: 26 to 39 inches (67 to 100 cm)

Shoulder Height: about 4 feet (1.2 m)

Weight: 330 to 551 pounds (150 to 250 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating year-round; gestation 100 to 116 days, two to four cubs born

Description: Tawny yellow coat; broad head; rounded ears; mature males sport thick manes; muscular shoulders

Conservation Status: Vulnerable

Major Threat: Habitat loss

What Can I Do?: Visit the African Wildlife Foundation for information on how you can help.