male African lion

African Lion

Panthera leo

CLASS Mammalia | ORDER Carnivora | FAMILY Felidae

RANGE Sub-Saharan Africa

HABITAT Grasslands and semi-arid plains

DIET Antelopes, gazelles, warthogs, smaller carnivores, and occasionally Cape buffalo, giraffe, and young elephants

MALE 330 - 550 lbs.
FEMALE 265 - 400 lbs.

MALE 5.5 - 8 ft
FEMALE 4.5 - 5.5 ft

110 days

1 to 6 cubs

IUCN Status
male lion roaring

Lions are the only true social cats. They live in groups called prides. Lions are inactive up to 21 hours of the day.

An adult lion's roar can be heard up to five miles away and warns off intruders or reunites scattered pride members.

lioness and cubs

Male lions defend their pride's vast territory by patrolling the area, which can cover about 100 square miles. Although the females (lionesses) do most of the hunting, dominant males always eat first, lionesses next, and cubs scramble for scraps and leftovers.

A single lion needs approximately 10-20 large animals per year to sustain it!

male lion laying on rock

A thick mane helps males look bigger and protects their throat. Loose belly skin allows the African lion to be kicked by prey with little chance of injury.

lioness laying on rock

Although lions are protected in some areas, human encroachment into lion habitat, trophy hunting and the killing of nuisance animals are all problems. Many lions have also died from diseases such as distemper, which is spread by domestic dogs from villages near their natural habitat.