Facts About Lions For Kids
A lion is just about the most interesting animal in the world.
A lion is one of five “big cats” along with jaguar, leopards, snow leopards, and tigers.
But lions are extra special. Some people call them the “Kings of the Jungle”. But they don’t actually live in the jungle. They live in grassy areas in Africa called savannas. So sometimes a lion is called the “King of Beasts.”
If you have ever seen a lion or heard a lion roar, you will understand why they are special. Let’s look at some interesting facts about lions. Maybe you will learn something new about this “big cat!”
The scientific name for a lion is “panthera leo.”
A male lion weighs about 190 kilograms and a female lion weighs about 130 kilograms.
Baby lions are called a cubs and they weigh about 1.5 kilograms when they are born.
The heaviest lion in the world weighed a whopping 375 kilograms!
When lions run, they run in short bursts of speed: it is a fast rush and then a leap.
Lions have excellent eyesight: they can see six times better than we can, and this helps them when they are hunting especially in the dark.
Lions can also hear very well: they can hear other animals that are 1.5 kilometers away.
Lions mostly live in two areas on the continent of Africa: in the southern part of Africa and the eastern part of Africa.
Lions used to live in North Africa and parts of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East; but the areas where they live are much smaller now.
There are probably between 15,000 and 45,000 lions in Africa today.
Most big cats like tigers live and hunt alone, but lions live together in groups called prides.
Prides work together to hunt and find food.
A pride can have as few as one male lion or as many as three male lions, several females, and lots of cubs.
A female lion is called a lioness.
Lions in one pride roar so that lions in nearby prides know where they are.
Lions have a tasseled tail and they use it to communicate with each other.
Lions are the only big cats to have manes.
Male lions have manes and female lions do not.
Manes make a male lion look bigger than he actually is, and a mane protect his neck during fights.
Lionesses think that male lions with dark manes are more handsome than male lions with manes that are light.
A lioness usually has two or three cubs at a time.
Even staying close to the pride, cubs are sometimes in danger from attacks from animals like eagles, hyenas, jackals, leopards, and snakes.
Lions usually live to be about 12 years old, but they can live to be 16 years old.
The oldest lion ever recorded was 29 years old!
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Lions communicate with each other through different sounds like purring, snarling, and sometimes even hissing!
If you put a lion and tiger together, their cubs will be called ligers or tigons.
Lionesses in a pride often have their cubs at the same time, so all the cubs are raised together and they can be very playful: they love to have fun!
Lionesses are better hunters than male lions!
Lionesses hunt together in groups: this way there is a better chance of catching their prey than if they hunted alone.
Male lions protect their territory and the pride’s cubs when the lionesses are hunting.
The territory of a lion can be as big as 260 square kilometers.
Lionesses do the hunting and then all the members of the pride eat, but the male lions are the first ones to eat, followed by the lionesses, and, last but not least, the cubs!
Lions are carnivores, which means that they eat meat: they eat antelopes, birds, buffaloes, crocodiles, deer, young elephants, giraffes, hares, hippos, lizards, mice, tortoises, rhinos, wild hogs, wildebeests, and zebras.
When a lion eats its meal, it does not chew the food: it uses its teeth to cut up the meat, and then it swallows the meat in chunks.
A male lion eats about 7 kilograms of meat a day and a lioness eats about 5 kilograms of meat a day.
Lions like to drink water every day if they can, but they can go for up to five days without any water.
A lion can drink for up to 20 minutes after eating.
Lions spend up to 20 hours out of 24 hours each day resting: they must really be tired after hunting for their prey!
Sometimes lions sleep up in a tree, and sometimes they can be seen lying on their backs with their feet up in the air!
Sweating helps animals to cool down, but lions do not sweat, so they spend the hottest part of the day resting under shade trees and then go out hunting in the evening when it is cooler.
Cubs are playful, but even adult lions like to rub their heads together, purr, and groom each other by licking each other.
A lion’s claws are very sharp and they are retractable, which means the lion can pull its claws back into its paws.
When a lion walks, its heels do not touch the ground.
Lions are good swimmers.
Swahili is a language in Africa, and the word for lion in Swahili is “Simba” just like from Disney’s “Lion King.”