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10 Eye-Opening Facts About Lions – The Bravest Big Cat
1. Lion pride
Leos tend to be quite social. They live in family groups called prides. A pride contains between 10 and 15 lions, most of which are females and cubs. Male lions, on the other hand, make up only one-fifth of the pride on average.
2. Game of Thrones
The lion’s reign as the leader of the pride is short, lasting from two to four years. Only the strongest male lion can rule a pride, but this means he must be constantly on the lookout to protect his position.
When the lion king grows weaker and weaker, younger lions challenge him for the position of pride leader. It is not unusual for several lions (usually siblings) to join forces to take down the pride leader. Once this happens, the new leader usually kills all the cubs born to the former leader.
3. Gender roles
Male lions may not seem like very good hunters, at first glance. In fact, they prefer to sleep, play and groom instead of doing hard work. Female lions are the ones who have the role of feeding the family. Compared to male lions, lionesses are more agile and slightly faster, making them better at hunting. They typically pursue prey of around 250 pounds, using intelligent hunting tactics.
Male lions, on the other hand, hunt mostly during their solitary years, looking for their pride. They are incredibly powerful and can often take down prey that would otherwise require 4 or 5 lionesses.
Lionesses work together when hunting to capture the best possible prey. Once they get it, they will often let the pride leader celebrate first. During the hunt, a lioness usually stays in the pride to care for the cubs. Any lioness who is nursing will allow any cub to nurse, regardless of who the mother is.
5. Duties of the lion
For most of the day, the pride leader does nothing but sleep and eat. A male lion will spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping. The rest is used for the protection of the territory, which is its main role. The leader lion will mark his territory by urinating, so other lions can sense his presence. In the case of an intruder, he will howl and try to chase them or fight if the need arises.
Lions eat twice a week on average, but those meals are big. An average portion for male lions is one-tenth of their weight, which is about 40 pounds. Such a large amount of food must be digested, so the lions immediately after lunch go to sleep, a rest that can last more than a day. Their favorite dishes include zebras and antelopes.
Lionesses often synchronize breeding, so they can care for all their cubs at once. They can be in heat for about 4 or 5 days, during which time they mate with a lion between 2 and 4 times an hour. This means that the male will often copulate over 100 times each day.
8. The lion’s roar
Lions roar as a way of communicating with each other, but the loudest roars are heard when they are angry. A furious lion defending its territory can be heard roaring from a distance of 5 miles.
The average litter size is 3 to 4 lion cubs. Newborns are vulnerable to predators such as hyenas and leopards, so at least one lioness is always with them. Cubs stay with their mothers for up to two and are taught to hunt. When they are about 11 months old, lionesses will start bringing them live prey to help them practice hunting.
Lions can mate with other members of the subfamily Pantherinae and produce offspring. The hybrid cross between a lion and a tiger is the liger, which is the largest of all cats. A tigon is a cross between a lioness and a male tiger while a cross between a lioness and a male jaguar is called a drunken lion.
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