Male African Lion and its mane. Lions are the only true social cats – by that we mean large wild cats. These cats live in groups called ‘prides’ of about 3 to 25 adults. Sadly the mighty king of the jungle is the worst cat ever. But we will get into that later.
Lion and its mane
The male lions have large manes and it is believed this is why people first considered them royal creatures. You have to admit, the male lion and its mane does appear to look sort of regal, royal and king like. This brings up the question.
Why do male lions have manes?
Some believe that a male lion’s mane has to do with protection. This mane covers the neck, which is one of the vital parts of any animal. Not to mention that it is where most animals, including lions, attack in order to bring down their prey.
Others believe that the lion’s mane is a sign of health and virility. It also works as a deterrent. A healthy mane makes the lion look larger than life and more powerful. The mere appearance of strength may scare away other lions or predators.
Lion and its mane – Fun Fact
The funny thing about these large cats is that as powerful as they are – they are also the laziest animals around. If you thought your cat was lazy, lions are the most inactive of all cats. They rest for 19 to 20 hours a day. Talk about taking power naps.
In a family trip to Bush Gardens, a caretaker shared this reason for why lions and many large animals rest so much in the wild. Lions are powerful, but they are also smart. Animals like to conserve their energy for when they really need it. It is like a cheetah – they can really run fast. However, they save up all their energy for when they need to hunt. A cheetah can run up to 45 to 75 miles per hour, but they can only do it for about 30 to 60 seconds. If they use up their energy while playing, they may be too tired to run fast enough to catch their prey (food).
Here are some interesting facts you may not know?
Did you know that not all male lions have a mane? Tsavo male lions generally do not have a mane, though colouration and thickness may vary.
In a study by Bruce Patterson, the curator of mammals at the Field Museum in Chicago, reveals that the length can largely be attributed to climate. According to The Field Museum, the temperature of the zoo lion’s environment is responsible for up to half of the span and density of its mane.
Fact about Female Lions
Female lion’s – make up a large part of the pride. A pride consist of multiple related females and their dependent offspring along with two or three unrelated males. A typical pride has about 15 members, although some prides can be as large as 40. As some, in the wild, have been observed.
This brings us to an interesting “Girls Rule” animal fun fact.
Did you know that the female lions do the hunting (usually in groups) while the male lions stay home and watch over the pride? The unfair thing about this arrangement is that the males are first to eat when the female lions come home with their kill.
Range: Sub-Saharan Africa
Habitat: Grassy plains, savannas, open woodlands and dense bush.
Diet: Mammals – that includes you and me, as well as birds and reptiles.