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Cats: Lions

© written by Tasha Guenther

Lions are part of the species, Felidae, in the subspecies, Pantherinae. Lions live in small groups, called prides. These groups consist of two to eighteen females, their cubs, and one to seven other males, depending on the dominance and tolerance of the pride leader; the strongest male in the pride acts as this leader.

Female lions are much smaller than males. However, they do most of the hunting in groups. Another difference between males and females is than the male lions have manes. This is for protective purposes and for purposes of identity – other lions are able to identify a male based on the shape, colour, and size of his mane.

Like domestic cats, male lions sleep up to 20 hours a day! While the females do most of the hunting the males do… well, almost nothing! However, when food has been found or killed, the head of the pride eats first.

The females are most protective of their cubs; however, if there is not enough food, she will abandon her cubs in order to survive – this is a rare but not unusual occurrence.