Lions are the second largest of the wild cat species roaming the earth. They are the inhabitants of Saharan Grasslands of Africa as well as Gir Forest reserves in Asia. These amazing big cats have been symbolizing strength and courage since ancient times. Even today, they are subjected to worship in many cultures. Here are even more interesting and unique facts about the “King of the Jungle”.
1. King, but not of the jungle
Interestingly, our big cats here do not, actually, live in a jungle. Though we know as kids, we were told all the stories about the King of the jungle, but Lions actually is a native to open and dry grassland. Wonder why they are found in the Gir Forest? Well, the Gir area isn’t really a forest; it’s a wildlife reserve area with scattered forest vegetation, and the rest are open grasslands. To say, it is a shrubs land, where lions are enjoying and relaxing in the shade of short heighted trees.
2. Very Sound
Lions can makeup to seven different types of sounds as a way of communication and signaling to their mates, pride, enemies, or preys. These sounds include Roaring, Moaning, Meowing, Snarling, Humming, Purring, and Grunting. An interesting fact about a lion roar is that it can be heard from as far as 8 km. Do you know why lion’s roar? To express their power if they sense any enemies lurking in the close vicinity of their pride. They roar and warn other animals to stay away from that area.
3. I am the man of the house
The females are responsible for feeding the family. They are the frontline hunters. They hunt in a group of more than two, almost always. While the males protect the pride, the females feed the pride. Males seldom hunt, only unless absolutely necessary. They prey on animals usually less powerful than themselves. They avoid hunting for large animals like elephants, giraffes, etc. Though two lions can bring down a young elephant with considerable efforts. After all, nature is always whimsical; you never know what you’ll see next!
4. Together, we are strong and safe
Lions are the only cat species that live in a group. The family includes Mom, Dad, the Cubs, and more lions. Sometimes, the number of lions in a pride may exceed up to 30, depending on the availability of food and water sources. The pride is guarded by the males, while fed by the females. They are born, and they die in the pride itself.
5. Mind the Manes
The mane is an important part of the lion’s life. Only the males carry the mane. It is known to serve multiple purposes. The lion mane primarily attracts females. The lions with darker and bushier manes are more healthy and powerful compared to the ones with lighter mane growth. It is also believed that the mane is used to scare the prey as well as competitor males. Mane will change its color according to the health and fitness of a lion.
6. Territorial much
Lions are pretty territorial. They mark their territories with their pee. Gross? Well, not so much for them. No lion would dare enter the territory of another pride unless it wants to be the alpha of the pride after fighting the head himself. Sometimes, these territorial fights prove fatal for one of the two fighting lions. Thus, they use signals like marking the territory, patrolling around the pride, or roaring to warn other lions to stay away and avoid any fights.
7. Not really asleep
The adult lions can spend up to 20 hrs a day, saving their energy. They are not, actually, sleepy but snoozing. The fun fact being, the lions snooze with their one eye open! This way, they can keep an eye on their enemies and keep their brain active even while resting.
8. Long Jumper and Tip Toers
The lions are known to leap as far as 10 meters at once. While they are hunting, they can catch a running speed of up to 80kmph. But, they cannot maintain this speed for long. They work on a short burst of energy. Though lions have spotted on tree branches, resting, but they are not great climbers. Just like any other cats, they can climb too, but only up to short heights. Another interesting fact about lions is their walking style. They walk without their heels touching the ground. It appears as if they are tip-toeing.
9. Blue Eyed Cubs are mesmerizing
The lion cubs are born with blue eyes. For around 15 days after their birth, they do not gain a 100% vision. Once they start growing up, their eyes turn to burnt brown or golden colored. And they gradually gain complete vision. The lion cubs when born are known to meow. That’s just their cute attempt to roar like their mom and dad.
10. Eat more for the future
Lions are hefty eaters. While their hunting activity is regarded as the most exhausting activity of their day, thus, they do not hunt daily, unless necessary. The lions, who hunt for big prey like a buffalo, can eat up to 30kg at once, and that can keep them going for another week or so without eating. While those who hunt on smaller prey like zebras, they need to hunt frequently. At once, they can consume food that equals up to 30% of their body weight. This gives them the opportunity to laze around the next entire week.
Though all these facts make the lion species sound amazing to us, due to extreme expansion of human communities, the Lions, which once prowled from the Middles East Areas to India, has now been confined within the Gir Reserves and the outskirts of African suburbs, into the grasslands. As a matter of fact, and by consequence of evolving civilizations, Lions have vanished from 95% of their original habitat areas. It’s time to take into consideration the need to save wildlife.