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Lion: The big cat in the animal lexicon
Lions are predators (Carnivora) and belong to the subfamily of big cats (Pantherinae). Her scientific name is Panthera leo. Lions are often referred to as kings of animals. Nevertheless, the lions within the big cat family are still behind the tigers and are only the second largest big cats in the world.
General information about the lion
Adult lions reach a shoulder height of up to 123 centimeters and are 170 to 250 centimeters long. Their tail is about three feet long. In addition, they reach a weight of 150 to 225 kilograms. Lions have a relatively large head. Their fur is short and sandy in color.
The males can be recognized by their long mane. Its color ranges from dark brown and black to a light, reddish brown. A gorgeous mane is often a sign that the male lion is well fed and strong. The lion's mane does not fully develop in early adulthood, when the lions are four to six years old.
Four paws New life for circus lions12 images
What does a lion eat?
Lions are pack animals and therefore hunt their prey in packs. They eat seven to ten kilograms of meat every day. However, lions do not necessarily need food every day, they can also swallow up to 40 kilograms at a time and then pause for a few days. Their prey includes mammals - especially antelopes, gazelles, zebras and wildebeests.
How does a lion live?
Unlike most cats, lions are sociable pack animals and live in large groups. These consist of ten to 15 females, their young and two to four adult males. The entire pack size can easily include up to 30 lions.
The lionesses are mostly related to each other. The males are rarely related to one another. They remain part of the pride of lions their entire life, while the older males have to submit to the younger, stronger animals in about all four of them and are then driven out of the pride.
Young males who have just reached adulthood are driven out of the pack by older males and form a smaller pack until they themselves fight to lead a new pack and take over the leadership.
The territory of a pride of lions is between 20 and 400km. This is regularly marked with urine and feces and is also defended by the male animals if necessary. If uninvited guests enter the lion's territory or approach it, the lions draw attention to themselves with loud roars and try to drive away the intruder.
If strange, male lions penetrate the territory and then even win the battle for supremacy in the pack, the young are usually killed by the new head. The new leader wants to avoid growing competitors. As a rule, old lions live all alone and must be careful not to be killed by younger male lions.
Reproduction and offspring among lions
Lions are sexually mature after 18 months, but only mate after two to three years. With the "Jacobson's organ", which is located in the back of the palate, the male lion checks whether the female is ready for mating. The male then opens its mouth, pulls its lips back and waits for a signal from the female. The female determines when the mating takes place.
It happens that the pack leader mates with all the females in the pack. During the mating season, a lion mates with a lioness up to 40 times a day, believe it or not.
The gestation period is then four months. After that, the females usually give birth to three to four young. They are suckled by the lionesses in the pack for six months before they are used to a carnal diet. The male cubs leave the pack after about 2-3 years, while the young females stay in the pack and soon become pregnant themselves.
In the video we show you which animal parents are particularly loving:
Photo gallery: In the realm of the big cats9 pictures
Is the Lion Endangered?
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