Unlike other cats, lions are very social animals. They live in groups, called prides, of around 30 lions. A pride consists of up to three males, a dozen related females, and their young. The availability of food and water determines the size of the pride. If resources are scarce, the pride becomes smaller.
Pride members keep track of one another by roaring. Both males and females have a mighty roar that can be heard up to 8 km (5 mi.) away.
Males and females take on very different roles in the pride. Male lions spend their time guarding their territory and their cubs. They maintain the boundaries of their territory, which can be as large as 260 sq. km (100 sq. mi.), by roaring, marking it with urine, and chasing off intruders. Their thick manes, a unique trait to male lions, protect their necks when they fight with challengers.
More Interesting Facts
- The lion has forever been a symbol of strength, power, and ferocity.
- A lion can run for short distances at 50 mph and leap as far as 36 feet.
- A good gauge of a male lion’s age is the darkness of his mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
- A lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks.
- A lion may sleep up to 20 hours a day.