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Lion, African

Lion, African

Scientific Name: Panthera leo leo

Status: Vulnerable

Habitat: Savannas, arid woodlands, and semi-desert regions from south of the Sahara Desert to South Africa

Diet: Carnivorous, eating impala, wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, rodents, birds, fish, and ostrich eggs

Length: 7.5 feet

Weight: 495 pounds

Like all cats, lions rest or sleep about 20 hours each day to conserve their energy. Unlike most cats, lions are a highly social species. Typically, they live in prides that consist of a few adult males with several related females and their young.

Lions hunt cooperatively on a regular basis and females do most of the hunting. Adult males take the “lion’s share,” eating their fill first. This can be up to 25 percent of their body weight. Next, the females and juveniles eat, and finally the cubs eat last. Pride size varies depending on resources available and terrain conditions, however, the average pride consists of about 15 cats. Prides establish territories of eight to 155 square miles by roaring to warn off intruders, urine marking boundaries, and patrolling the area. Roaring also helps maintain contact among pride members and strengthens bonds between members. Dominant adult males defend the pride against rival males.

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