Lions Vs. Tigers: REAL King of Beasts
Overview: Big Cat Family
Both the Lion and Tiger belong to the feline or cat family. Although much larger in size and every physical proportion than our domestic friends, the house cat, these two animals share the same overall breed. Their habitats range from the thick jungles of Asia to the open plains of Africa where both predators reign supreme among other land carnivores in their respective regions. Compared to the other members in the big cat family, the cheetah, leopard and jaguar; the lion and tiger are the largest.
In this article I will pose the question to you, the reader, "who is the REAL king of the Beasts?"
I have included video footage to support this argument and will try not to lean in favor of the option I personally chose. However, without seeing these animals in their environment and natural habitat, behavioral patterns and true comparisons are hard to distinguish without scientific evidence and research.
In this corner...
The lion is the second largest member of the big cat family behind none other than the tiger. Male lions can weigh up to 550 lbs (250 kg) and are the primary means of protection for it's territory. Lions live in social groups called prides that can range anywhere from 10-30 members, including lionesses and cubs. In fact, out of all the members in the big cat family, the lion is the only member who lives, hunts and eats together as a group.
The existing habitat for the lion has dramatically decreased through centuries of dehabitation, human overpopulation and poaching. Their territories used to spread throughout much of Southwest Asia and practically the whole continent of Africa. Now however, lions are limited to small regions in Africa, mainly the sub-Sahara and the Gir Forest National Park in India where only about 300 are believed to reside.
Lions live roughly anywhere from 10-14 years in the wild, and up to 20 years in captivity. With little fear of any natural enemies, lions, like tigers roam freely and eat almost anything at will. Though their prey selection varies by region, both are accredited to being very strong predators and tackle prey often times, more than twice their size.
Lions on the Hunt
Only the Strong...
The Tiger (panthera tigris) is the largest member of the big cat family and are destinctive in their appearance with stripes on their bodies that help camouflage the tiger with it's surroundings. Like the smaller leopard, no two tigers have the same pattern of stripes which helps distinguish between one another. The male tiger can exceed weights of up to 660 lbs (300 kg) and has no known natural threat (other than man) in it's habitat.
Tigers are solitary animals, and live and hunt alone unlike the lion which lives in a group called a pride. They are very territorial and display aggressive gestures by which to defend it.
Tigers range from the Siberian taiga and snow covered landscapes to tropical forested areas and grasslands. The Bengal tiger is the most numerous of the tiger subspecies and the Siberian tiger is the largest.
There aren't many animals that resides in the tiger's habitat that can't be regarded as a potential meal. Their prey ranges from wild pigs and rabbits to the largest species of cattle in the world called the Gaur. Because of the tiger's natural habitat (mostly woodland areas), tigers rely on stealth and speed to surprise their prey.
By far, one of the most spectacular displays of beauty and strength can be found watching a tiger hunt.
So who wins?
So far we have discussed the various prey and habitats of both the tiger and lion. One species prefers solitude while the other are more adapt to a social lifestyle. Both the lion and tiger are fearless predators with high maternal and territorial instincts that truly make them rulers over their kingdoms.
So what is the verdict? Who truly reigns supreme over the big cat family, both in size and strength?
- The tiger can exceed weights of up to 600 lbs but in only one subspecies, the Siberian tiger.
- The lion hunts primarily in a group of other lions called the pride and live on wide open grasslands, whereas the tiger prefers thick woodlands for cover.
- Both the lion and tiger are top land preditorial animals in their respective domains.
- The tiger is the largest member of the big cat family with the lion in second place.
The fighting styles of these animals are mainly displayed through territorial and mating encounters. Because of different habitats, strengths vary as do prey, with the lion being more adapt to longer and intense fights with neighboring prides and other predators, such as the hyena. The tiger, however, does not have as much competition or opposing threats as the lion.
The wildebeast, zebra and water buffalo are among the normal diet of the African lion and although they hunt in numbers, lions are more than capable of bringing down prey by themselves. The tiger hunts relatively smaller animals such as warthog and deer but are more agile than lions and bring down large prey as well.
The argument however, cannot be won on the pages of debate forums, nor can it be solved by uneducated arguments that defend that person's idea of the superior animal. Regardless though, it makes for a great debate on the mightier of these two beasts. Who is king?