More Than Meets the Eye

The King of the Jungle
©2024 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
©2024 Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

     Everyone has heard of lions and most people love lions, but what if I told you lions are a lot more than what meets the eye? To understand all the wacky and fun facts about lions, we must first know what a lion is and what it does. In short, lions are one of the most fierce predators on planet Earth. They run after prey, they hunt with no mercy and they live in groups called prides.

    Did you know that when lions hunt they fall flat on their faces many times  trying to chase gazelle, antelope, zebra or whatever prey is unlucky to cross their path? Here is another fun fact: a male lion can’t eat more than 16 pounds of food in one day. On average it only eats about 14 pounds. Lions can also not eat something with a fat content of more than 10% or they will get violent stomach aches. I guess they pass on the ice cream.  

    Lions normally hunt gazelle or antelope which uses up so much energy that they need to eat a lot to renourish. Compared to an average American male who  eats about 3-4 pounds of food daily, a lion eats more than triple that. However,  a lion in captivity (which is just a really long word for not in the wild) can only eat upwords of 8 pounds of food because they do not waste as much energy as the lions in the wild. 

    We all know that lions hunt, but will they hunt other apex predators? The simple answer is NO. Why? This is because of the reward versus effort factor. Which is a way of saying that if a lion hunts an animal will it get enough meat for the amount of energy it puts out?  For example, if a lion hunts a tiger it will have to chase and fight it. A tiger is a very violent animal and will put up a great fight.   Why try to eat another violent apex predator when it can just go chase down  helpless antelope that will not bite back or put up much of a fight?

     The masai lion is one of the most common lions but there are many subspecies of lion which are then separated into hundreds of species with slight differences. Such as the panthro leo or the East African lion. Located in most parts of Africa, this lion is one of the easiest lions to identify because they have little tufts of fur on their knees. The lions from The Lion King are actually based around this type of lion.

    Another type of lion is the Asiatic lion. This type of lion lives in the Gir Forest in India of which there are less than 500 left in the world who all live in that same forest.This lion is slightly different than the African lion and all the African lion subspecies, which is that it has a bigger mane than the male African lions. 

   Let’s talk science, specifically biology. In the animal kingdom it’s good to know that your kid is in good hands so if you see a lion with a dark main a female lion will more likely mate with that lion over a lion with a lighter main because a dark main means more testosterone. This means a lion will normally be able to protect a mate and cub a lot better.

   Another thing is that in a lion pride/herd there are never more than 3 or 4 males and those males are normally brothers or cousins and the rest are female. Lion prides can have anywhere from 3-30 lions and most of them related,  so the gene pool is very shallow. When a male lion reaches maturity around the age of 2 it is kicked out of the pride so that they don’t marry someone they are related to. They will form groups of 3-6 lions called coalitions and they normally start claiming territory. Occasionally they challenge the leader of another lion pride they are not related to to a battle to the death. Sometimes it ends with one retreating, but normally it ends in death. When the lion is defeated then the new lion will move in with his coalitions and their first order of business is to kill all of the cubs in it because they don’t want to waste energy making sure someone else’s genes live on.

   Well now for the last thing I will answer these questions from the last More Than Meets the Eye.  How do ants not bump into each other and how do they manage traffic?  One simple answer THEY HAVE EYES!!!! I know! I was also shocked when I found out too. 😉

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