The African lion is the fiercest of all the big five Animals and of all the animals in the wild, thus the King of the Jungle title. Matter of fact the lion is not known to mingle with other animals but only prey on them for food, though it stays in the same niche with hyenas and actually the hyena and the lion compete and steal prey from each other.
The lion is a deep- chested cat and the second largest cat just after the tiger. It stays in the savannah on the flat-topped ground with trees but not in the forests because it’s not adapted to survive in the forest plus lions are carnivorous.
The Lion (male) weighs about 120kg or more above the lioness’(female) weight and the male lion has a mane around its neck which is the most prominent and distinctive feature on a lion.
The lion is a social animal and stays in groups of about 10 to 15 that consist of one lead lion and probably 2 or 3 lesser males with related lionesses and their cubs. The lion is also territorial and can stay in one territory for many years or a lifetime if they are not endangered and the prey is available.
The common prey for the lion include:- Zebras, young Elephants, buffalos, giraffes etc, Big 5 Animals. and are normally hunted by a group of lionesses from a pride who ambush the prey, kill it then take the meal for the whole pride to share. The lioness is not as strong as the lion however a group of lionesses are able to kill prey bigger than them.
Given the lioness does most of the hunting; the lions protect the pride from rival animals, danger and intruders.
The lion like all other cats is active during the night but can also be active during day and rests for almost 20 hours each day sleeping, relating with each other and reproducing. When on heat a female lion can mate with more than one male though there are times in the year when the lion doesn’t mate.
At age four a male lion is able to go and create its own pride as the Lioness is able to reproduce, the average gestation period is about 110 days and a female gives births to between 1 – 4 cubs at once. The mother nurses the cubs outside the pride until they are 6 to 8 weeks; that’s when she will integrate them into the pride.
The lionesses in a pride are normally on heat at the same time thus reproduce at similar times, so when cubs are in the pride they can nurse from any lioness in the pride which helps them to grow and develop equally and for the cubs that are abandoned, they don’t suffer from starvation.
The males though they don’t mind the cubs, they are usually not found of them and instances where a new male takes control of the pride, he kills all the cubs so that the lionesses in the pride can easily go on heat to allow mating.
When threaten the lion will charge you with rage and can be dangerous, however its advised that in moments like this; don’t panic, don’t run, look bigger that the lion and plan to retreat slowly without turning your back to the lion; even when it charges again just keep retreating.
You can enjoy a wide diversity of this Africa lion when you visit any of these game parks:-
- Serengeti National Park in Tanzania
- Ruaha National Park in Tanzania
- Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya
- Murchison falls national park in Uganda.