LIONS & TIGERS - ECOLOGY / CONSERVATION
Common Name : Lion
Class : Mammalia
Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae
Genus species : Panthera leo
Size : male 1.7 to 2.5 m ( 5.5 - 8 ft. ), and 1.2 m ( 1 foot ) at the shoulder : female 1.4 to 1.7 m ( 4.5 - 5.5 ft. ), and 1.06 m ( 3.5 ft ) at the shoulder
Weight : males 150 to 250 kg ( 330 - 550 lb. ), females 120 to 180 kg ( 265 - 395 lb.)
Description : short - haired, tawny cat; black tail tuft, ears, and lips; males with blond to black manes; newborns with grayish spots which fade to adult color by three months.
Life span : up to 30 years in captivity, 15 years average
Sexual maturity :males at 5 yrs., females at 4 yrs.
Gestation : 98 to 105 days ; on average 2 to 4 cubs born.
Habitat : sub-Saharan Africa in grasslands and semi-arid plains.
Diet :antelopes, gazelles, warthogs, smaller carnivores.
Status : not listed by USFWS ; protected by CITES
Ecology & Conservation
Lions are the largest African carnivores and a hungry lion pride feeds on many animals that pass through or share its home range. As specialized communal predators, a prides role includes keeping herbivore populations in balance with the resources available in their area of the plains.
- Lions are the only truly social cat species, and usually every female in a pride of 5 to 37 individuals is closely related.
- An adult lion's roar can be heard up to five miles away and warns off intruders or reunites scattered pride members.
- While lions are inactive up to 21 hours a day, in the darkest, coolest hours of early morning the "queen of beasts " hunt as a team to catch a communal meal.
- Pride lionesses frequently enter breeding season together and later give birth at the same time which allows them to share nursing and other maternal duties.
- Although only one out of four hunting events is successful, dominant males always eat first, lionesses next, nad cubs scamble for the scraps left over.
Talk to a Zoo Keeper
Click on link and e-mail any of the following Zoo Keepers. They will respond within a day or so. ( hint : Teachers if you write and ask the Zoo Keeper to meet your class in a chat room it could be a great learning experience. Remember that you need to agree on a place and time )
Write to : Debbie Wyche, Mike Wyche, Joe Sullivan, Sarita Pointek, Jennifer Schaub, Jeremiah Degenhardt, Brandy Martin, or Jessica Black
Zoo Keeper Home Page
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