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A male Lion heads straight for the camera in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

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Two male Lions in Kruger National Park

Photo © Steven Herbert

Panthera leo

Interesting facts about Lions

The lion is undoubtedly the 'king' of the Big 5 (let alone the jungle). It is a major attraction in many of South Africa's game reserves.

Male lions can weigh 250 kg. Females are smaller and weigh up to 180 kg. There is a record of a male lion weighing 313 kg being shot near Hectorspruit.

Lions can live for over 10 years in the wild but survive much longer in captivity. Injuries received while hunting and fighting between males has a big impact on their lifespan.

Male lions have a mane and apparently females tend to favour males with darker, fuller manes. The mane also makes the lion appear bigger and more intimidating when confronting other lions or enemies such as the Spotted Hyena.

Lions normally live in social groups called prides. A pride may consist of a few males, related females and their cubs. Lions do sometimes live singly or in pairs. A pride is very territorial and the job of the male is to defend and mark the territory.

A female lion is called a lioness. Lionesses do most of the hunting in the pride, normally working together to bring down their selected prey.

Lions hunt a range of species including Buffalo, Burchell's Zebra, wildebeest and many other antelope. They are mainly active at night.


Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - A male lion with a magnificent mane

Below - A lioness


Photo © Steven Herbert



List of South African Mammals


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