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Wild Cats - Facts About the Lion

Updated on June 22, 2017

12 Facts About the Mighty Lion - King of Beasts

Animals have been common to man since ancient times. Written and drawn records show animals being used in fields, farms, and homes.

Unlike other animals that are there for protection, as a food source or to help with human work, the lion has nothing to give to humans.

They can not be tamed for domestic use and are not to be trusted in domestic situations; the African lion is a predator nonpareil.

However, in cultures across Europe, Africa, and Asia, this animal has become a symbol of bravery, earning it the nickname “King of the Jungle”. So, why does the lion fascinate humans so much, from the ancient times until today?

1. Son of Lion

The fact that some of the most common names, like Leonardo, originate from the word “lion”, shows just how important this animal has been to the imaginations of humans throughout the century.

Leo, which means lion in Latin, was among the most common names of famous rulers. In fact, six Byzantine emperors were called that, as well as twelve popes.

The name of the famous Spartan king, Leonidas, who fought Persians in the Battle of Thermopylae, means “Son of Lion.”

The most famous English ruler of the Middle Ages, Richard I, was nicknamed “The Lionheart”.

The African Lion - capable of killing almost anything
The African Lion - capable of killing almost anything

2. An Ancient Predator

It may seem unbelievable, but in the past, humans have had much more contact with this animal.

Around 10,000 years ago, the lion was plentiful, only falling behind in population to humans on the Earth.

When the great ancient civilizations started emerging in the Mediterranean, these animals were all over the place.

According to Herodotus and Aristotle, lions were common in Greece in the 5th and 4th century BC.

Lion Facts about Prey
Lion Facts about Prey
I Am Lion - Apex Predator
I Am Lion - Apex Predator

3. The Lion - Sire of the Gods

In ancient Egyptian mythology, all cats have a special place and the same is true of the lion.

The God of war, Maahes, is a creature with human body and the face of a lion.

The Egyptians believed he was the son of the god Ptah - the creator of the Universe - and the feline goddess, Bast.

Lions and Hyenas on the African Plains
Lions and Hyenas on the African Plains

4. A Fierce Warrior

The ancient Egyptians are known to have depicted their god of war as a lion. Some think it is because of the lion’s ferocity and proficiency at battle.

It is in their nature – males fight all the time. In fact, male lions live for over a decade longer in captivity than in nature, for that very reason.

A male lion's life usually ends spectacularly on a blood-drenched field, whereas a lioness dies like a glowing ember - slowly, surrounded by family.

Fierce Competitors - Lion and Hyena
Fierce Competitors - Lion and Hyena

The African Lion and Other Big Cats

Which one is your favorite Big Cat?

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The African Lion - Mr. Ever-ready
The African Lion - Mr. Ever-ready

5. Fight till the End

Lions live in family groups called prides and for a male lion to become the alpha of a pride, he must prove that he is the strongest.

It’s a tempting position for every lion, so when the leader lion gets old and weak, a younger one will fight him for the lead position.

The “boss” gets all the females and the food as lionesses are the ones who hunt.

Lion King - pictures of lions
Lion King - pictures of lions

6. Night-vision by Starlight

Lionesses work together to catch prey, using different strategies.

They hunt almost exclusively by night as their night vision is a major advantage.

Compared to humans, lions are six times more sensitive to light.

7. A Bevy of Super-senses

Despite all the fighting and hunting, the lion is still just a big cat. That’s why it’s not surprising that they adore sleeping. In fact, they love it so much, that on average, they sleep 16 to 20 hours a day.

Lions, as with humans, greet one another by a handshake, or in this case, a paw shake. Head rubbing and licking are also signs of peaceful intentions between lions.

They also purr, meow, hiss and roar. The lion is the loudest big cat and their roar can be heard 5 miles away.

Pictures of lions
Pictures of lions

8. The Lioness - A Dedicated and Able Huntress

The male lion’s mane is a physical characteristic that no other big cat has. It makes them look bigger and scarier.

The bigger the mane, the more attractive is the lion to a lioness.

On average, lions are 4.6 to 8.2 ft long, with their weight being between 265 and 420 lbs.

Mating African Lions
Mating African Lions | Source

9. Hercules the Hybrid Lion

Talking about size, the biggest cat in the world is a hybrid cross between a male lion and a tigress.

His name is “Hercules the Liger” and he weighs over 900 pounds, which got him an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Lions.  Yep.
Lions. Yep.

10. Cecil the Lion

Speaking of famous cats, one lion’s death sparked a public outrage in 2015.

“Cecil the Lion” was a huge tourist attraction the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, before he was killed by a recreational big-game hunter.

Prior to that, Cecil was being studied by the Oxford University, who tagged him, along with 62 other lions. As of January 2016, 24 of those lions have been killed through sport hunting.

A Coalition of Male Lions
A Coalition of Male Lions

11. Lion Conservation Methods

Despite the declining population of the African lion, humans are trying hard to bring their numbers back up. Safaris, for example, bring in money to help establish and maintain parks where hunting is not allowed.

Additionally, although many people might balk at allowing hunters to kill lions in some places, the privilege to do so is very expensive, and the money, in a way, helps saves more lions from being killed.

Would You Ever Go on an African Safari to See Lions?

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The Lion Charge!
The Lion Charge!
Lions Mane - A Proud and Mighty Beast
Lions Mane - A Proud and Mighty Beast

12. A Dying Big Cat?

Recreational hunting is among the factors that brought the lion to the verge of extinction. The IUCN Red List considers the lion to be a vulnerable species.

The last couple of decades saw a significant decrease in the lion population in Africa.

It is estimated that a hundred years ago, there were over 200,000 lions in the African wilderness, while today, there are nearly 10 times less.

It is safe to say that, while the world stands, the lion will be revered in human cultures. If you enjoyed reading this, please consider buying Apex Predator: The African Lion - Lord of the Serengeti. It is over 60 pages of information elaborating on all aspects of the African lions life - from the adaptation of his mane, to the reproductive cycles of the lioness.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the lion images below!

Roll of Thunder...Lion Roar
Roll of Thunder...Lion Roar
This lion probably gets all the lionesses
This lion probably gets all the lionesses
Majestic Lion
Majestic Lion
Double Trouble
Double Trouble
Lions Coming of-Age
Lions Coming of-Age
Lion Pride
Lion Pride | Source
Lioness and Motherhood
Lioness and Motherhood
Little Lion Roar
Little Lion Roar | Source
Lion Battle 3
Lion Battle 3
Lion Battle - Fight!
Lion Battle - Fight!
Masai Mara African Lions Battle - Black Mane vs. Scarface fighting over a lioness.
Masai Mara African Lions Battle - Black Mane vs. Scarface fighting over a lioness. | Source
African Lions
African Lions
800+ pounds of feline
800+ pounds of feline

Which Big Cat wins in a battle between a Tiger and a Lion? For Fun!

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    • profile image

      I like trains kid 

      2 years ago

      I Like Trains... *train randomly comes in*

    • Taranwanderer profile image


      3 years ago

      This is a great hub on lions. A real tribute to the African lion - my own hub is right here if you have a chance to take a look. african lion facts:

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 

      4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Lions are my favorite big cats. There is nothing like the sound of a lions roar, it send chills down my spine! This is a very informative hub.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for the lovely comenmt. These charts will be available in my zoo literacy pack which I hope to have finished by the end of the week. In it will also be tree maps and bubble diagrams for 9 other animals as well as word wall words, word families and other literacy activities.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Wow. What lucky guests they were. We were with you a clpoue of years ago and had several similarly memorable moments. The hippo we encountered face to face on our walk, who shouldn't have been on his way up to the camp watering hole for least another two hours was one! Fortunately our guide seemed to have been trained in hippo whispering, so we lived to tell the tale.Here's hoping we come again sometime.Best wishes to you all.Annie and Roy

    • profile image

      yan castro 

      5 years ago

      Guys plz donate money to save the lions plzzzz!!!!

    • zaton profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks so much, rajan jolly - your work is amazing and dedicated as well. I hope to have as much interaction on some of my better hubs as you do on yours.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Amazing information and excellent photos. Thanks.

    • zaton profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Good tidings, Admiral; thank you. I only meant to peruse your Lions in combat: King of Beasts hub but found I had to read and watch it all the way through. Exemplary

    • Admiral_Joraxx profile image


      6 years ago from Philippines

      Wow! I mean, this is superb man. .! You've done a great job on this hub. VOted up! =)

    • zaton profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thank you idigwebsites! A lion as a pet - wow! Nobody's messing with you

    • idigwebsites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      Beautiful hub and beautiful pictures of lions! I wish I could have one as a pet, especially the cubs hehehe. Voted up.

    • seigfried23 profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful hub on lions. I mean, this is really good - must have taken a lot of effort. You're a beast, lol.

    • zaton profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks Monis Mas! I agree -

    • Monis Mas profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome article. I love lions, they look so powerful.

    • zaton profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks a bunch, truthfornow and DzyMsLizzy! I appreciate the kind words and am glad you liked my hub

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Fascinating hub! I love all cats--large and small, wild and domestic. It was hard to pick a single favorite in your poll, therefore, because I love them all...."all of the above" would have been my ideal answer. ;-)

      You've provided many interesting facts--especially about their manes--that I did not know before. Thanks for contributing to my "learn something new each day" philosophy.

      Voted up, interesting and beautiful.

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I love all the big cats. Thanks for all the wonderful pictures and interesting facts. Great job. Voted up and beautiful.


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