African Lion

African Lion

Scientific Name:
Panthera leo

Savannahs of Africa


Average Size:
Body Length: 5.5-8 feet
Body-Tail Length: 8-11 feet
Weight: 350-650 pounds

Up tp 25 years in captivity

Population Status:

Wild: Large hoofstock such as wildebeest and zebras
Zoo: Carnivore meat diet, chicken, organ meat, occasionally fish and cow bones.

Gestation: 100-120 days
Litter size: 1-6 cubs, usually 3-4.

Most easily recognized of the wild cats.  Lacking stripes or definitive spot as adults, both sexes are tawny colored.  Males have manes that tend to be a dark brown or even black.

Humans, hyenas (as cubs)

African Lion Map

About the Animal: African Lions are perhaps the most well known of the large cats. Originally ranging across Europe and Asia, down through Egypt to South Africa, and even North America, lions are now confined to open savannah areas in Eastern Africa and parts of South Africa.  The second largest of the big cats (tigers are larger) with females reaching up to 320 pounds and males an amazing 550 pounds, lions are considered the largest carnivore in the Africa.

Although all lions belong to the same genus and species, Panthera leo, there are several sub-species of lions.

Mating and Reproduction: They are one of the only truly social wild cats, living in female dominated groups called prides.  Each pride has a dominant male – sometimes a pair of males – that protect and defend the pride against threats and other males.  The dominant male will mate with all the females as they come into heat.  All the females care for the cubs.  When the females are off hunting, the dominant male is responsible for watching the cubs.

Amazing Information: Although not currently endangered, continued habitat loss is pushing these cats closer and closer to endangered every year.