800px-Lion waiting in Nambia

A lion in Namibia

The lion (Panthera leo) is the second largest living cat in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae. With some males exceeding 250 kg (550 lb) in weight. Wild lions currently exist in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia with a critically endangered remnant population in Gir Forest National Park in India, having disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, much of Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru. Lions are the most social cats which live in a group called a pride. Lions live up to 14 years in the wild, and up to 20 in captivity.
Lion pride image 1

A lion pride


Lionesses hunt alone to capture small prey such as gazelles, zebra foals, and elephant calves. They hunt in groups to capture large prey such as water buffalo, zebras, and even elephants, which they rarely hunt. Lions are cooperative hunters and use speed, strength, and strategy to kill their prey. Lions eat to regain their strength for the next hunt, although the males do not hunt.


Lions have yellow manes which turn black as they grow old. The females are maneless. They have yellowish-brown fur, white chins, and a bunch of hair growing on their tails.


Lions are known to breed with leopards and tigers. A leopon is a result of a lioness and leopard, a liger is a result of a tigress and lion.


Lions are hunted as pests and sometimes for their skin and manes. Other threats are habitat loss and prey loss.

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