Lions have relatively short-legged, long, muscular bodies and large heads. The male grows on average to 1.7 to 2.5 m (5.6 to 8.2 ft) long, not including the tail, which is 90 to 105 cm (36 to 41 in) in length. It stands 1.23 m (4 ft) high at the shoulder, and it weighs 150 to 250 kg (330 to 550 lb). The mane, which covers the head and neck, sometimes extends to the shoulders and belly. The mane will vary in color and length; well-fed, healthy lions have longer, fuller manes. Females are smaller but equally muscular. Lions vary in color from golden to brown. The mane of a male lion will vary from black to yellow. Both sexes have retractable claws to keep them sharp when they are needed. Lions have wide powerful jaws. The lions roar, which can be heard by humans up to 9 (5.6 miles) kilometers away, is usually uttered before the animals hunt in the evening, after a successful hunt, and again in the early morning.
Habitat & Human Impact
Lions once ranged throughout Africa and from Europe to Iran and India. By 1900 lions were no longer found in Syria; today Asiatic lions are limited to the Gìr Sanctuary in India. Lions also roam Africa south of the Sahara, particularly the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Kruger National Park in South Africa. This drastic reduction in range came about as humans and domestic livestock spread into savanna lands. Because lions live in open areas, they are easily shot by hunters and herders. Lions fur coats are a highly prized possession by poachers, and are worth a lot. Over the last 200 years, over 90% of the world’s lion population has either been shot or killed as result of humans. Lions are also a very popular attraction for zoos and many lions live in captivity.
Diet & Predatorial Behavior
Lions are one of the world’s most famous predators. Their preys ranges from insects to giraffes; but they prefer large animals such as zebras and wildebeast. The...