Animals in Combat: The Lion King of Beasts

Lions
Lions

The lion is one of the rather most famous wild animals in the planet. They belong to the genus Panthera of the Family Felidae, and are the second largest member of the cat family next to the tiger.

Among the cat family, only lions have sexual dimorphism, males looks obviously different from females. Males are easily recognized by their manes; the often thick cumbersome hair covering the neck down to the chest. It is something female lions or lionesses do not have. Their skulls are very similar to that of a tiger. Their jaws are that of a fierce predator. They have a muscular yellowish sometimes reddish, or dark brown colored bodies, powerful legs of a typical running animal, retractable claws and a long tuft ended tail. Lions can grow up to 8 to 12 feet long and can weigh up to a range between 330 to 550 lbs.

A male and a female lion
A male and a female lion | Source

Though known to be the king of the jungle, lions most likely dwell in savannas and grasslands and seldom in jungles where they find less prey.

Lions are socially oriented animals; though there are a little some of them who choose to live a solitary life, most of them often live together in a group of 3 to 30 individuals including closely related females and at most 2 related or allied males. This group is called a pride; organized, kept and protected by all capable members under the supremacy of a strong male lion who most likely earned it all from a deadly battle.

A Lion Pride
A Lion Pride | Source

In this pride, the superior male leads territorial defenses and aggressions, while the lionesses are in charged to do the majority of food hunting.

Lionesses take charge of the hunting
Lionesses take charge of the hunting | Source
He reserves his health for territorial fights
He reserves his health for territorial fights | Source

A fully grown male needs approximately 7 kg of meat for a meal while an adult female needs 5 kg, though lions can gorge themselves up to 30 kg at a single sitting. Their prey varies depending on availability, ranging from small deers, zebras to wildebeests, cape and water buffaloes and sometimes, elephants.

When a prey is down, the superior male lion often gets to eat first before the lioness. This is so because the pride ruler needs to be well fed, strong and in good shape at all times. The same reason why he rarely participates in food hunting, that is in order to avoid petty injuries from defending preys; he reserves much of his health for facing territorial threats. He is the ultimate expression of his pride and thus he needs to keep himself in maximum battle prowess to be able to make clear statements against anyone who challenges his preeminence.

Male lions showing the world who's the boss

A dominant male defending his pride

Lions also take opportunities for easy meals by scavenging; stealing the kills of smaller predators like leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs and their chief competitor, the hyenas.

Lion cubs
Lion cubs | Source

Lion cubs are born blind, weak and totally helpless in thick bushes or in caves far away from the pride. They are born in litters of 1 to 4 cubs, weighing at around 2 to 4 lbs. The mother transfers her cubs to several safe hiding places each time so that the cub’s scent will not accumulate in only a single area preventing stronger predators from detecting and killing them.

During this time, the mother also goes hunting all by herself. She has to be nearby her cubs all this critical period to feed and protect them. She introduces them to the pride on their sixth week. Here, they are fed and protected until they become strong enough to take part in pride responsibilities.

It is an interesting thing that lioness cares and allows to suckle even cubs other than her own. With this, cubs gets better chances of nourishment, though sibling competition starts at this early age. This competition grows even more intense the moment they start eating meat because they compete for only leftovers of the highly capable adults. Sadly, nearly 80% of lion cubs die out of starvation in the wild.

A terrible food competition for lion cubs

Lions reach sufficiency after a year and become fully grown hunters at nearly 2 years old. When this time comes, adolescent females stay and serve as useful additions to the pride’s hunting forces. Adolescent males on the other hand often have to leave their home pride to grow stronger in a solitary life, until they decide to beat a superior male from another pride somewhere, and eventually lead a pride of their own.

Young male lions leave their home pride to lead a pride of their own
Young male lions leave their home pride to lead a pride of their own | Source

Aside from predators and starvation, pride rule endangers the cubs. When a new male lion succeeded in overthrowing a pride ruler, he will kill all months old cubs of the defeated ruler, to make sure only cubs of his own will grow in his claimed pride. This dreadful attempt often ignites another battle, as mother lionesses stand and fight for their helpless cubs. This means that if a new male lion wants to take over a pride with cubs. He must defeat not only the ruling male, but also the coalition of the raging protective mothers of the cubs. If there are non-mother lionesses in the pride, they often take the side of the new ruler because they desire to mother his future cubs. After sides have been taken, war becomes inevitable and if the new ruler proves supremacy, cubs get killed and the new generation of the pride reigns.

The fate of cubs having weak fathers

Living in the wild is a continuous unforgiving battle. Only the strongest survives and so everyone must fight for his right to live.

Lions are highly capable creatures naturally gifted with special battle competence that enabled them to rise to the top of the food chain and earned such impressive reputation among all beasts. Here are the king of beasts’ battle arsenal.

King's Mane

The adult male lion’s mane is their unique signature characteristic. It grows fuller and darker as the lion matures and gets age. This rather cumbersome heavy hair protects the lion’s neck and chest from fatal damages during fights. It also serves as an excellent intimidation display as it gives the lion a larger fiercer appearance to its enemies.

Their mane makes them look larger
Their mane makes them look larger | Source
Power pounce
Power pounce | Source

Power Pounce

Lions when hunting alone stalk and crouch patiently to cut as much distance as possible without getting noticed. In these cases their yellowish brown color serves a great advantage as it camouflages them effectively with the colors of the dry grasslands. When they get close enough, they launch a short burst powerful attack catching and instantly killing a prey in an unguarded surprise. Power pounce proves effective as to how a 36mph running capable lion catches preys which are capable of running up to 50mph, though these success cases against speedy preys are rare, especially when a lion attacks all alone.

Lion claws
Lion claws | Source

Razor Claws

The lion uses its powerful forelegs to grab and smack a prey or an opponent. What make their forelegs even more lethal are the claws on it. These sharp claws can kill smaller species in an instant. Lions are able to retract these claws or hide them off ground when not in use providing a safe keeping mechanism that maintains these claws’ sharpness.

Great Roar

Lions roar in deeply unique patterns. Their roars are usually heard during sunsets as it marks the prides night long hunting activity. Lion’s has the loudest roar among cats reaching an approximately 5miles or 8 kilometers, this enables them to communicate signals in great distances such as when the pride ruler calls to round up members of his pride. They also roar to make known their presence and to inflict fear into enemies during territorial confrontations.

Killer Jaws

Lion’s jaws are short but strong, holding pairs of long canine teeth which are highly capable of inflicting instant fatal damages to misfortunate victims. A bite to the neck can quickly immobilize or kill a prey.

Tactical Teamwork

Lion’s socially oriented nature is greatly evident during hunting activities. Lionesses though swift and agile are not particularly successful at taking down large preys alone, but doing it with a team stands a better chance. Team hunting usually commences by encircling a herd from different points and running their casual short burst attempts on the closest prey. If they don’t get a kill at the first attack, at least it sends the herd into disorientation and thus displays even more vulnerable targets. Oftentimes they get a successful kill on the prey that gets separated or left behind by the herd. This teamwork proves successful in cases where a pride is able to takes down large and powerful preys such as a fully grown male cape buffalo. They are even capable of taking down even a fully grown elephant when driven by severe hunger; in which case the attack was successfully carried out at night where elephants experience extremely poor vision.

Teamwork vs a grassland heavyweight superstar

Hunting and Battle Fury

Lions are naturally born warriors. Their killer physique are well supported by their furious intent to prove supremacy whenever necessary.

A Tribute to the Kings of the African Savanna

More interesting facts about lions

  • Lions do not like to swim for no good reasons but are actually excellent swimmers, like in the case of the Okavango Delta Lions.
  • Male lions are highly capable of killing lower predators such as leopards, wild dogs and hyenas especially when they mess up around his territory or harm members of his pride. Though lions rarely eat kills they make from territorial battles.
  • Rivalry clashes between male lions rarely end up in death. Oftentimes it ended only up to chase off and serious injuries. Only very few male lions are capable of killing other male lions.
  • Lions take water as much as everyday if supply is available but are also able to stand as long as a week without it.
  • Male lions have the tendency to become more relentless upon the sight of a weak or dying animal, attacking and instantly killing it.
  • During mating, Lion couple copulates up to an amazing twenty to forty times a day and are likely to miss their meals.
  • Male lions mark the territorial borders of his pride by mixing urine and glandular secretions and spraying it into tree trunks or bushes in the area.
  • Lionesses are actually more aggressive than male lions.

Weaknesses

Lion’s greatest weakness is their stamina. Though they have the build and features of a strong running hunter, they are actually only capable of running short burst attacks. They cannot last long stressful pursuits. This is so because they have an incredibly small heart for their bodies. This causes them to get exhausted and overheated easily during exertions. The male lion’s mane also causes him to suffer greatly during hot seasons because it prevents body heat loss in the neck. This makes exertions even more exhausting.

Territorial fghts
Territorial fghts | Source

Lions live for only about ten to fifteen years in the wild and nearly 30 years in captivity. But Male lions rarely reach 10 years in the wild as damages sustained from unending territorial battles greatly reduce their longevity.

The unstoppable expansions of human activities had also caused tremendous shrinkage to the lion's wild habitat proving once again and for all, that our improvements diminished the worlds of other dwellers. We all deserve a space in this beautiful world and as the supreme thinkers among all creations, we better be thinking of ways to make room for every species rather than ways of taking those of others for our own.

Lions are endangered of extinction
Lions are endangered of extinction | Source

Lions are magnificent creatures, let's not allow it that somewhere in the future, our sons and daughters will only see them in movie clips, flags, logos and not in the grassy plains where they used to roam and exhibit their unique admirable splendor.

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Comments 15 comments

Ardie profile image

Ardie 5 years ago from Neverland

Proud, powerful, regal, and from the second photo looks like playful! Is the male lion trying to bite the female lion's tail?! Great hub, I enjoyed reading it and seeing the pictures of one of the greatest animals known


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks for coming by ardie! =), your descriptions perfectly fits the lion. In the 2nd picture, the bite looks actually more of their casual playful bites. No harms. Thanks again, I'm so happy you enjoyed reading it.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 5 years ago from North Carolina

Tour de force on the lions Admiral! Some of the vids can be kinda tough to watch but that's just the way nature is. Lions and hyenas are most competitive and do appear to be unfriendly to say the least. Have you seen that remarkable video 'Battle at Kruger Park?' If not check it out by all means: lionesses, cape buffalo, and a hungry croc. Thanks for your sentiment on the sons and daughters seeing them in their natural habitat in future too AJ.


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks for coming by Alastar. Yeah I saw that breath taking video. The bufallo cub has toughness on him huh. So lucky he is, that he made it out alive from both predators. I think he is the young prince of his herd. It was like the entire herd rushed back to rescue him. I agree with you about lions and hyenas. =) they are not likely to be in good terms with each other as much as territory is concern. Thanks again, so much.


nenytridiana profile image

nenytridiana 5 years ago from Probolinggo - Jawa Timur - Indonesia

The lions eyes could paralize their victim. You just gave me a complete knowledge about lion. Thank you!


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

You're welcome nenytridiana. Thank you for coming by and commenting=)


Samuel Songungou profile image

Samuel Songungou 5 years ago from Bangalore, India

This is what a hub should be like! I m a lot like you in many ways, i love researching about great beasts and animals too...Great write AJ!


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Hey Sam!, great to meet you here buddy!, thanks for coming by. Yeah, its nice to know about the lives of other dwellers of the planet. They kinda unique in their own ways and their life in the wild are really exciting. Thanks again Sam.


tammyfrost profile image

tammyfrost 5 years ago from Oregon

Wonderful way to add so many great photos and videos. Lions are interesting.


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks for the comment tammyfrost.=)


kviwhite profile image

kviwhite 5 years ago

I think you've done something fabulous. Love the hub and vote up.


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 5 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks Kviwhite. =)


SHIVANAND 4 years ago

BEST


seigfried23 profile image

seigfried23 3 years ago

Wow - I though my cousin's lion hub was good. this is great! Very dedicated info clearing up some common misconceptions about the African lion and full of amazing pictures too. A+++

http://hubpages.com/education/Wild-Cats-Facts-Abou...


Admiral_Joraxx profile image

Admiral_Joraxx 3 years ago from Philippines Author

Thanks seigfried. =)

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