All Hail to the King of Beasts! Lions are members of the cat family. They are the second biggest cat right after tigers. The scientific name for this cat is Panthera leo. Panthera means “roaring cat.”
Lions live on the savannahs of Africa. But a small population of lions live in India as well. They are well adapted to life in the grasslands. Their yellow coats provide camouflage in tall grass. Like most cats, lions have retractable claws. These claws are perfect for killing prey. They also have razor-sharp teeth which are perfect for eating meat. Their paws enable the lion to walk silently and stalk prey. Unlike other cats, lions prefer to hunt in groups called prides. Females, called lionesses, do most of the hunting. Working together as a team could help bring down large animals like zebras and giraffes. Hunting requires a lot of energy so lions sleep for 20 hours a day in order to conserve it.
These big cats are famous for their super loud roar. Males roar to warn of other males not to approach their territory. A male lion’s roar is so loud that you can hear it from five miles away.
Female lions stay in the pride that they were born into for life. But when male lion cubs mature, their mother chases them out of the pride so they can take over another one. Lions are symbols of courage in many cultures. In order for a male lion to take over a pride, he must fight the current dominant male in that pride. If he succeeds, he will likely kill the cubs that the original may have sired. Then he will have the right to mate with the lionesses that live there. A male lion must fight for his position as the ruler of his pride. Typically, his reign would last no more than two or three years. He will likely lose it to another younger male someday.