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5 fun facts about lions


Did you know August 10 is World Lion Day? From Simba to Aslan to Alex, today we celebrate these amazing mammals that rule the wild kingdom. Join Mr. Orlando in letting out a roar for these cool big cat facts!

Lions are the only big cats with noticeable manes.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

First things first — big cats are a group of animals that share some similar traits. The big cat group includes animals like tigers, leopards, and of course, lions. But lions are the only big cats that have a lot of bushy hair around their face and neck called a mane. It’s only the adult male lions, too. Female lions (also known as lionesses) don’t have manes. This makes it easy to tell the male lions from the female ones.


A lion’s roar can be heard from 8 kilometres away.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Eight kilometres is a big distance — that’s the length of over 270 basketball courts end to end! Lions roar for different reasons. Sometimes they want to let other lions in their group know where they are and that things are okay. Other times they use their roar to warn animals to stay away from their territory. One thing’s for sure, if there’s a lion about, you’ll hear it loud and clear!


Lions are excellent hunters.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

There’s a reason the lion is called “king of the jungle,” and that’s because they are at the top of the food chain. This means nothing hunts or preys on lions. They do all the hunting and they are built perfectly for it. Lions have strong leg muscles for running and pouncing, sharp claws to hold prey, and super sharp teeth to cut meat. It’s the lionesses that mainly do the hunting. They usually hunt in teams at night because their great night vision helps them spot prey easily in the dark.


The spots around a lion’s mouth are unique.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

You know how no one has the same set of fingerprints? Well, the spots around a lion’s mouth are like that. The spots form a pattern and each lion has a different pattern around their mouth. This is one way researchers and zookeepers can tell one lion apart from another. Neat, huh?


Lions are social big cats and they live in groups.
Photo by Ben & Gab licensed CC BY 2.0

Lions are the only big cats that live in groups, which are called prides. A pride can have as few as three lions or as many as 40! There are only a few adult males in a pride. The rest are females and their young. Lions in a pride take care of each other. You’ll notice the lions grooming each other with their tongues and rubbing their heads in greeting. Lions in a pride do squabble over food, though, and that means the big male lions usually get to eat first, followed by the lionesses, and the cubs eat last — no fair!