Friday, June 29, 2012

50+ Interesting ,Amazing and cool facts about LIONS


   
           


  • Latin name: Panthera leo
  • Lifespan: On average, the females live for 17 years, the males 15 years. The oldest lion possibly recorded was a male living in a Zoo in Sri Lanka that reached a ripe old age of 26.
  • Facts:
  1. A lion's roar can be heard from as far as 5 miles away.
  2. A lion can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet.
  3. African lions are the most social of all big cats and live together in groups or "prides." A pride consists of about 15 lions.
  4. Lions living in Zoo's don't have the stress of defending territories against other prides and don't have to hunt for themselves, which could possibly be the reason for a longer lifespan.
  5. Male lions defend the pride's territory while females do most of the hunting. Despite this, the males eat first.
  6. These majestic cats are threatened by habitat loss. The lion is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  7. The lion was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now exists only in Africa with one exception. The last remaining Asiatic lions are found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India, which was primarily created to protect the species. Currently, there are approximately 350-400 lions in the park.
  8. Even though the lion is sometimes referred to as the "king of the jungle," it actually only lives in grasslands and plains. The expression may have come from an incorrect association between Africa and jungles or may refer to a less literal meaning of the word jungle.
  9. A good gauge of a male lion's age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
  10. A lion's heels don't touch the ground when it walks.
  11. A lion may sleep up to 20 hours a day
  12. Lions have been mistakenly called the "king of the Jungle," but the fact is, lions do not inhabit jungles.
  13. While lions have also been referred to as the "king of the beasts," this is only partially true. Lions, in their habitats, are kings of the predatory beasts, but they can be easily backed down or killed by elephants and water buffalo. A pack of hyenas can also back down or even kill a solitary lion!
  14. When it comes to mating, lions are the champions! Lions can copulate up to as many as 100 times in a 24 hr. period!
  15. Lions are the only true social members of the cat family and live in groups called prides.
  16. All females in a pride are related.
  17. All lactating females will allow any cub in their pride to nurse.
  18. Male lions can usually only hold on to a pride for 2-4 years before a younger, stronger male or coalition of males throws him out and takes over.
  19. Many people only think of the females as doing the hunting, but as males spend much of their lives in search of a pride, they too must fend for themselves and are quite capable of hunting!
  20. White lions occur naturally in the wild in the Timbavati region of South Africa. There are no verified records (that I am aware of!) of the existence of any black (melanistic) lions.
  21. Lions are the only sexually dimorphic members of the cat family.
  22. Male lions are the only members of the cat family to have a mane.
  23. Lions are the only felines with tufts at the ends of their tails.
  24. Female lions reach two thirds of their adult size by the time they are 2 years old.
  25. Males begin to really grow between 3 and 3 1/2 years and by 4 will be almost their adult size and weight.
  26. Both males and females continue to grow until they are 6 years old, primarily becoming more massive.
  • Weight and weight records:
On average, adult lionesses weigh 150 kg, with larger adults reaching up to 180 kg. Females reach their prime maturity at about 5 years of age.
The average adult male weighs around 220 kg, with really large males reaching 280kg. Males reach their prime maturity at about 7 years.
The heaviest recorded wild lion in South Africa was a man-eating lion that was shot, just south of the Kruger National Park. He weighed in at 313kg.
The heaviest living lion today, if he is still alive, is a male that lives in a Canadian zoo weighing at 366kg.
The World Record is 375kg!
Zoo and circus lions in general are overweight from overfeeding and the lack of exercise.
  • Feeding and Diet:
Prey species vary from small to large mammals such as hares, monkeys, baboons, impala, gazelles, kudu, steenbok, duiker, zebra and wildebeest. Larger prides may specialize in hunting large game such as giraffe, hippo, rhino and elephant.
The lionesses do most of the hunting, they are also more successful when stalking prey as they have a better camouflage and are far more patient at hunting than the males are.
Mature males with dark manes have the disadvantage that they may be seen from a long distance by their prey, making stalking rather difficult, especially in the dry season.
The males are very capable of hunting and will often join the hunt when it involves large prey such as buffalo, rhino and elephant where the extra weight and power is needed to pull down these animals.
Once a kill is made the males will often take over as they are stronger and larger and therefore take priority in feeding, leaving the females to feed off the scraps or nothing at all.
A mature lion is capable of consuming amounts of meat that are equivalent to 10% of its own body mass, tucking in as much as 25kg on one feeding! Once a lion has eaten as much as it can, it starts to breathe very rapidly, this is as a result of the stomach being so full and putting pressure on the ribcage which makes breathing more difficult. The heavy breathing cools down the lion and slows its metabolism down as well. On a full stomach a lion can go 4 days quite comfortably without having to hunt again.
The under-part of the lions' belly is very light in colour, almost white and when their bellies are full they will often lay down on their backs exposing the lighter colour to the sun. The light colour absorbs less heat from the sun, thus keeping them cooler, especially in areas with limited shade. Lying on their backs also helps with the uncomfortable pressure off their full stomachs.
On a hot day lions will often lick the pads of their feet, especially the front feet and then turn them upwards to cool them down in the breeze.
  • Running Speed:
From standstill too sprinting, a lion can reach a speed of close on 80km/h in just 3 seconds! It can run at this speed for 300 - 400 meters.
  • Interesting Lion Theory:
In many game reserves in Africa there are over-populations of lion and what is often noticeable is how many of the pregnant females are giving birth to more male cubs than females. On average a mother will give birth to three cubs, normally 2 females and 1 male, but in over-populated areas this is often the reverse with the mother giving birth to 2 males and 1 female cub.
Over a period of time as the population increases, there will be far too many males. At the age of about 3 and a half years these males will be forced out of their prides by their parents and then start living a nomadic life until they are old enough to fight for their own territories.
Competition between the males is very tough with there being so many of them in the same area and not enough space, resulting in more fighting and thus an increase in the male mortality rate. Gradually the male lion population will drop, leaving only the strong and healthy ones behind. At the same time, with there being so few female cubs, this will also slow the population growth as there are now fewer females to give birth to their own young in the future.
So nature seems to control its own animal numbers is some way or another
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