The Panthera leo is commonly known as the lion and sometimes the "king of beasts." Panthera leo contains five subspecies, which are named for their geographic region.
Adult male lions are easily recognized by their long brown, or sometimes black, manes which make them look more fearsome and stronger. Young males usually start growing their mane at the age of two and receive a full mane at five years of age. Young female lions are born with a slightly spotted coat which develops into the typical tawny-colored coat of their mothers before the age of one. Full grown lions can grow up to a length of ten feet and weigh from 275 to 425 pounds. The average male lion lives 12 years and a female usually lives 15 years.
Today, an estimated 30,000-100,000 lions live in the wild. The Asiatic lion species (Panthera leo persica) is nearly extinct and most of the remaining lions live in the Gir Forest preserve. Some subspecies that are extinct include the Cape Lion, the European Cave Lion (Panthera leo spelaea), and the American Lion (Panthera leo atrox).
The lion habitat once spanned from Eurasia and all regions of Africa to North America. Today, they have been limited to living in the grassy plains of Africa south of the Sahara Desert and some parts of western India. Lions can live in forested, mountainous, or semi-desert habitats but can't live in rainforests or desert habitats. Most Asiatic Lions, who are endangered, live in the Gir Forest preserve in India.
Lions travel together in organized groups called prides consisting of four to forty lions. The prides are made up of related lionesses, males who have fought their way into the pride, and cubs. Contrary to popular belief, the lionesses hunt for food together and care for the cubs while the male lions mainly provide leadership and protect their pride. Lions travel together in organized groups called prides consisting of four to forty lions. The prides are made up of related lionesses, males who have fought their way into the pride, and cubs. Contrary to popular belief, the lionesses hunt for food together and care for the cubs while the male lions mainly provide leadership and protect their pride.
Lions breed year-round and are polygynous. Female lions have one to six cubs at the same time about every two years. If a cub is particularly weak and not strong enough to stay in the pride, the mother will sometimes abandon it. Panthera leo is sexually dimorphic, meaning males are larger than females.
Did you know: A lion's roar can be heard up to five miles away?!
Source two lions drinking
LION DISTRIBUTION IN AFRICA
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