Published on Aug 29, 2020

Lion Background Images

License Info: Creative Commons 4.0 BY-NC

Lions ranges across all of sub-Sahara south of latitude 18 degrees except in the great forests. The Panthera leo are the biggest cats after the Siberian Tiger. They are the only truly social cat species.

The roar of an adult lion can be heard up to 8 km away. Lions roar to keep intruders away from their kingdoms and roaring helps to keep together the members of a pride.

They are the only social cats and form prides of 3 – 12 females with their cubs, and 1 – 4 attendant males.


The Lion is the largest of all African carnivores, the African Lion is undoubtedly one of the most impressive of Africa’s species.

The prides have well defended home ranges and defend them vigorously. They feed on all warm blooded prey from mice to buffalo, but in lean times will eat almost anything, even insects and reptiles. They have been known to tackle larger animals such as young elephant and hippopotamus, and sometimes are successful in the kill. The females do most of the hunting, but at a kill precedence is given to the males. The call of a Lion at night is one of the most unforgettable sounds of the African bush.

The appearance a male Lion is 1.2 meters tall at the shoulders and has a mass of up to and over 200 kg. Females are slightly smaller and weigh about 130 kg. Their under parts are whitish with a general tawny to sandy tinge. Rosettes and spots are characteristic of young animals and females often retain these on their under parts. Only males have a long tawny mane on the sides of the face and on top of the head. In some individuals this mane can become almost black.

Lions prey mainly on large animals such as Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Gemsbok and even Giraffe. Smaller prey like Impala, Steenbok and even Porcupine are taken when the opportunity arises. The task of hunting is often left to the lionesses of the pride, which hunt as a team.

Lions are non-seasonal breeders, yet females of a pride often synchronize births. After a gestation period of 110 days, one to four cubs are born. Cubs start taking meat after ten weeks. Females suckle their own and one another’s cubs for up to six months. After birth, cubs are hidden for six weeks after which mothers bring them to the pride’s crhche. The young remain dependent on the organizational success of the pride for up to three years.

Prides consist of two to 12 related females and their young, and dominant males. Such males may form coalitions of two to six, and collectively hold tenure over prides. The roar of the Lion is an impressive sound and is perhaps the sound most associated with the African wild.

Apart from roaring, Lions also communicate by scent-marking their surroundings, and even by their facial expressions and body postures. Lions display their aggression by showing their impressive canine teeth, retracting their ears and displaying the dark patch behind the ears, their tails twitching in irritation. Where they are found Sub-Saharan Africa is the last refuge of these supreme animals and South Africa offers some of the best opportunities to view lions in their natural habitat.

These tawny animals are the largest of Africa’s cat family. The young lion have characteristic rosettes and spots which usually disappear as they mature. Male lions have manes, some being darker than others. The lion has a white beard and long white whiskers growing from dark spots on the upper lip. The back of the lion’s ears is black and the tail ends with a tuft of black hair.

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