Lions. The ultimate big cat. Whether you grew up loving them due to The Lion King, you simply love hearing about the ‘king of the jungle’ in school and books or simply, you love big cats, I think we can all agree the lion is the top of the ‘big five’. Me and my husband were so incredibly lucky to be able to see these gorgeous cats out in the wild whilst on Safari in Kenya. Not only did we see a male in all his glory, we saw a lioness with her cubs who looks weeks maybe even days old and lucky may not be the word for when we saw a lion having sex. Trust me, it wasn’t pretty and after hearing about what happens to the males during sex, I see why they roar. If you don’t know what I mean, just google it and forgive me after, thank you.
So without further ado, let’s talk about lions, what’s so amazing about them and also I’ll link some great charities and foundations doing work to keep them protected.
Almost all wild lions live in Africa, with just one small population taking residence in western India. A male lion can weigh up 30 stone and this is needed in order for them to defend their pride and hunt large prey. In a day, a lion can eat up to 40kg of meat, which is around 14 chickens.
When born, lions have little spots that kind of looks like very faint leopard marks on their coats. As they get older these disappear and they tend to become a darker sandy colour. As a pride is usually made up of female relations, their cubs and then the male or small group of males who defend the pride, the cubs get reared together. This means the cubs if needed will suckle from any female who’s able to provide them with milk.
Lions are the only big cat species known to roar together, cubs and all. They have a sort of sequence which will last around 40 seconds and they do this to mark their territory. It’s said that the roar of a lion can be heard from 5 miles away, especially when in one of these sequences.
To feed the pride, many lions will do their hunting at night time due to their adapted eye sight, giving them a greater advantage on killing their prey. They also like to hunt during stormy weather, as the noise and wind can make it harder for their prey to realise they’re on the attack.
When it comes to getting their hydration, lions have a way around the system. Of course, living in such a hot climate means there’s not always access to water. For this reason, they’ll drink from plants to make sure they’re kept hydrated.
The mane attraction.
A lion’s mane it it’s pride and glory, quite literally. All manes tell a story and as male lions grow older, their manes get more and more impressive. The mane of a lion can grow up to 16cm long and they’re a sign of dominance. The darker the mane, also means the older the lion.
Not only do they use their mane to attract females, they also serve a functional purpose. The mane can help to protect their neck and head from injuries during fights with prey or other lions.
Helping the lions.
In the world, there’s around 23,000 lions left in the wild. This might seem like quite a lot but when compared to the likes of elephants (415,000), you realise just how little there are. Due to the number, this means they’re currently vulnerable in terms of endangerment. It’s said that in terms of their historical amount, there’s around 10% of this number left.
So what can you do to help? You can adopt a lion from the WWF here: Adopt an animal. You can also donate to Born Free, who are helping to conserve lions here: Born Free. If you know of any other amazing charities or organisations, be sure to leave them linked below. The more ways we can help the better.
Love, always – B
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