The lion is the second largest predator cat with a body length of around two metres. They live up to their reputation as king of the animals due to their considerable size and mighty hunger – a fully-grown lion devours up to 40 kg of meat per meal.
A lioness can bear up to six offspring away from the pride and initially suckles them alone. After around 6–8 weeks she returns back to the pride with her litter, where the 'aunts' are already waiting. All the other lion mothers lend a 'paw' in helping the new lion mother out by suckling the little ones and taking care of them so that she doesn't have to fend for herself – a true 'feline nursery'.
south of the Sahara; savannah, steppe, semi-desert
Fresh game please: zebras, antelopes, buffalo and other hoofed animals
23,000 to 39,000 worldwide
1.70 to 1.90 m (shoulder height: 0.80 to 1.10 m)
Male ca. 225 kg
Female ca. 150 kg
- Gestation period
3.5 to 4 months
- Achievable age
over 20 years
Threat Categories of IUCN
The mainly nocturnal lions prefer to hunt during the night and spend the majority of the day sleeping in a shady area. Yet this sluggish behaviour does in no way mean that visitors to the zoo will end up with long faces, since the later feedings of the predators will show us some action, eventually revealing the imposing nature of the big cats.
...lions sleep for up to 20 hours a day,
...they hunt in the twilight and in the dark,
...and only female lions hunt?