Some lion facts are astounding, yet others seem ferociously stark. Some lion facts are cute and make us feel cuddly inside; still, others are calculating and crude. These cats are the ultimate killing machines but are just as liable to lie around playing like fluffy kittens.
Their social structure is strong and family-oriented, until mating and territorial rights take president and pit family members against one another for the survival and greater good of the pride. The following lion facts may help you to understand this matriarchal feline unit, and why its survival in the wild is so essential to the world as we know it.
Interesting Facts About Lions
Lions live in pride, which consists of anywhere from three to thirty lions, sometimes more. The majority of them are mature lionesses who are free to breed with the one dominant, unrelated male lion in the pride. He is the king and has many duties, though he only hunts if the opportunity should blatantly present itself, which happens maybe ten percent of the time.
His duties are to guard the entire pride at all times, to stand at stud, to fend off challenges from outside males, and to babysit the cubs while their mothers bring home the bacon. He will also ensure that each cub has enough to eat at mealtime.
There may be quite a few younger male lions in the pride, usually the sons and grandsons of the dominant king, and they are tolerated well by him so long as they maintain their low stature beneath him.
These males will eventually leave the pride in search of mating challenges in efforts to rear a fulfillment of his own. Many of these lions are solitary for years, as their advances are fended off by stronger, more experienced lions.
Sometimes, in keeping with the “safety in numbers” lion mantra, these singular young males will form temporary packs. Eventually, as the young lions become stronger and more experienced, and as the rival kings of existing pride become older and less agile, nature’s rules will allow for the crowning of a new king. Whoever is left standing will gain instant favor from the lionesses and their offspring.
Some lion facts are not as widely known to the public as others. For instance, we all know that lions roar. We do not all know that lion cubs are allowed to nurse from any lactating lioness within the pride, not strictly from his mother.
One field expert marveled at his witness to a dominant male lion, while on babysitting duty, having the end of his tail nursed on by two the cubs in his charge. Perhaps like most males of any species, this lion’s motto was “whatever keeps them quiet.”
Open next page to continue reading: