African Lion

Lions are large cats with short, tawny coats, white underparts, and long tails with a black tuft at the end. They are sexually dimorphic and male lions are the only cats with manes. Three year-old male lions grow manes that vary in color from black to blond. Manes tend to be fuller in open habitats. Adult males typically weigh 189 kg; the heaviest male on record weighed 272 kg (Mount Kenya). Females weigh 126 kg on average. The average male height is 1.2 m and the average female height is 1.1 m. Length ranges from 2.4 to 3.3 m and tail length ranges from 0.6 to 1.0 m; the longest male lion recorded was 3.3 m.

Scientific Name: Panthera Leo

IUCN (Red List) Status: Vunerable (VU)

Habitat: Savanna, Shrubland, Grassland, Desert. This is an inhabitant of arid, open country, characterised by short grasses and sparse woody growth. It is absent from true desert and forested areas, and also from mountainous terrain.

Animal Location: Savannah Sanctuary
Diet: Medium- to large-sized ungulates (including antelopes, zebra and wildebeest) are the bulk of their prey, but Lions will take almost any animal, from rodents to a rhino. They also scavenge, displacing other predators (such as the Spotted Hyaena) from their kills.

Reproduction: Lions are the most social of the cats, with related females remaining together in prides, and related and unrelated males forming coalitions competing for tenure over prides. Average pride size (including males and females) is four to six adults; prides generally break into smaller groups when hunting.. Lions breed year-round and are usually polygynous.. Female lions are polyestrous, breeding throughout the year and peaking in the rainy season. Female lions tend to have cubs every 2 years. However, if a female's cubs are killed (usually by an intruding male lion), then the female comes into estrus early and has more cubs. Females are able to breed at 4 years of age and males at 5 years. One to six cubs are born after a 3.5 month gestation period. There is an interbirth interval of approximately twenty to thirty months. Newborn cubs weigh 1 to 2 kg. Eyes typically open by 11 days, cubs can walk by 15 days and are able to run by 1 month of age. Mother lions keep their cubs in hiding until they reach about 8 weeks of age. The cubs are weaned between 7 and 10 months, however they are dependent upon adults in the pride until they are at least 16 months old.