Africa | Lion | Big Five | Wildlife
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THE AFRICAN LION:


SOCIAL LIFE:

Lions organize themselves in to groups called prides. a pride may comprise of just a few females, cubs and a male, and other times it may total a family of 40.

The family marks its territory by urinating along the edges of the turf. The scent acts as a warning to intruding predators.

The males, distinguished by their impressive manes are the larger sex, weighing in at an average of 180 kilos. Their weight puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to hunting, but an added plus when strength and power are the determining forces.

The females on the other hand a have an average weight of 120 kilos and more agile than their male counterpart.

For these reasons, females usually carry out the hunting activities, while the males act as the defenders and protectors of the pride against intruders.

A lionís mane is a symbol of power. The healthier and darker it is, the healthier and tougher a lion is assumed to be. For this reason, dominant males, with dark large manes often head the pride. as head, they get the first pick of a meal, as well as attracting plenty of females when time comes for mating. But this comes at a cost, since the dominant males usually face stiff competition from young and strong lions in the pride. At times, young lions do stage coups and chase or even dominant males.

On average,lions may live to be the age of 30 years.

DIET:

Lions are pure carnivorous creatures, surviving on meat from prey they have either killed, or stolen from other predators. There menu list comprises of gazelle, wildebeest, zebras and even large game such as buffalo and giraffe. On average, a lion may consume 5 to 7 kgs of meat daily.

The Lionís hunting style is truly remarkable. They usually hunt in groups, letting the numbers game play to their advantage. A group of females will usually fall into a single line or spread out into small packs around potential prey. One of the lionesses takes the lead as the others follow her command. Once a suitable target is spotted, the lioness fall into an attack mode; usually freezing, or sinking down into cover. Then suddenly, the chase is on. The lions spring from their cover and chase down the prey.

Usually in group hunting, some of the lions act as decoy; driving the prey into an ambush where other lions lay in wait. It is these lions that will usually finish the job.

Though powerful, these mighty cats donít have the stamina required to out run prey over a long distance. They therefore have to get as close as they can to their pre before they strike.

The lion is not called the undisputed king of the jungle for nothing. One blow from its powerful forepaw is enough o take down a fully grown zebra or gazelle. After the prey is down, the lion will usually suffocate their prey by holding its muzzle.

Night time is usually the best time for lions to hunt. With a vision 6 times superior to that of humans, itís a lot easier to spot prey, without getting noticed.

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University of Nairobi