African Lions

af-lion1African lions are the most iconic big cat in the world.  They are the second largest cat in the world.  They are well known for being the most social member of the cat family.

af-lion3African lions are the apex predator of Africa.  They hunt in prides from 8-20 individuals.  The female lionesses hunt using teamwork.  They mainly hunt gazelles, antelope, wildebeests, zebras, warthogs, and buffalo.  Most of their prey choices  are much larger that the lionesses.  Every pride has a different hunting style, but the most common on is where a group of lionesses chase their prey until they can jump on its back. Over a short distance, a lion can run at 30 miles per hour.   Then they try to break their prey’s  spine, or they will they to sever their windpipe or jugular artery.  After they kill their prey, the alpha male eats first, even though he did not do any of the work.  Then the females eat, followed by the cubs and juveniles.

Lioness (Panthera leo), with cubs, Kruger National Park, South Africa, Africa

Female African lions give birth to 1-7 cubs at a time, and 3-4 being the average.  The cubs are born after a 3½ month pregnancy. The cubs stay with their mother for about 2 years.  During this time, she and the older females teach them how to hunt, socialize, and be a lion.  If her cubs are threatened, a lioness will defend her cubs with her life.  But sadly, only 1 out of 8 cubs survive to become adults.  The main predators of lion cubs are crocodiles, hyenas, leopards, and male lions.