The Lion is referred to as the King of the Jungle. It is the second largest big cat species found on this planet. Today, we are going to learn some incredible lion facts that will help you understand these majestic creatures in details.
So, without wasting time any further, let us begin learning!
Lion Facts: Scientific Classification
Before we go ahead and start the list of lion facts, let us take a quick look at the scientific classification of lions.
Lion Facts: Name and Subspecies | 1-10
How did this big cat get its name? What are the different subspecies of lions that live on Earth today or lived in the past? Find out the answers to these questions in this segment of lion facts.
Fact 1: The word lion is derived from an Ancient Greek word “leo”. Hebrew’s lavi word can also be related to lion word.
Fact 2: Carl Linnaeus used Felis leo for lion in 1758 while describing lion in his book, Systema Naturae.
Fact 3: Lorenz Oken coined the term Panthera in 1816. As of 2005, there are around 11 subspecies of lions.
Fact 4: However, this division was totally based on morphological features and hence it is now considered that there are only 2 subspecies of lions according to Cat Classification Task Force of the Cat Specialist Group.
Fact 5: They classified it in the year 2017. The two subspecies are:
- Panthera leo leo – This subspecies includes Barbary lions, Asiatic lions and lion populations of northern and central Africa.
- Panthera leo melanochaita – This subspecies includes extinct Cape lion, lion populations of eastern and southern Africa.
Fact 6: Other sister species which existed in prehistoric time are:
- Panthera leo sinhaleyus – The fossil remains were found in Sri Lanka. It is considered that they became extinct around 39,000 years ago.
- Panthera leo fossilis – It is also known as Panthera fossilis or Panthera spelaea fossilis. It was lion-like cat. It lived during the period of Middle Pleistocene. The remains were found in Germany, UK, Czech Republic, Italy, etc.
- Panthera spelaea – This sister species lived during the Late Pleistocene. It lived in Beringia and Eurasia. It became extinct some 11,900 years ago because of climate warming. Its habitat was huge ranging from western Alaska to Siberia across Europe. It was way different from Asiatic lions or African lions. This sister species was depicted in cave paintings, clay busts etc. It is thought that it was derived from Panthera fossilis.
- Panthera leo atrox – It is also known as Panthera atrox. Its range was from Canada to Patagonia.
Fact 8: Phylogenetic studies of 2006 and 2009 reveal that lion and jaguar belong to one sister group (sister group is the closest relative of one species to another). This sister group diverged 2.06 million years ago.
Fact 9: Results of recent studies show that lion and leopard belong to one sister group which diverged around 1.95 to 3.10 million years ago.
Fact 10: Hybridization of lion and snow leopard ancestors continued till 2.1 million years ago.
History of Lions and Hybrids
In this segment of lion facts we are going to learn how the lions evolved and the different hybrids that we have created over time. Enjoy reading!
Fact 11: The earliest lions evolved during Pliocene epoch in Africa. They then spread to areas like Eurasia, and Americas.
Fact 12: Eurasian cave lion and the modern lion diverged between 2.93 and 1.23 million years ago.
Fact 13: The present-day subspecies of lions diverged around 245,000 years ago. Lions of Southern and East Africa are genetically more diverse and have a long evolutionary history than the lions from Asia, central and west Africa.
Fact 14: Lions earlier occupied rainforest zone and Sahara Desert in Africa. As of today, the lions became extinct in northern part of Africa barring southern Sudan.
Fact 15: Lions were common in Europe, some parts of Asia and India. A bronze age statue of a lion was unearthed from southern Italy or southern Spain which dated 1000 to 1200 BCE. Mari-Cha Lion is the name of the statue and was displayed at Louvre, Abu Dhabi.
Fact 16: Herodotus, the father of history, reported that lions were common back in 480 BCE in Greece. He even mentioned that lions attacked the camels of Xerxes (Persian King) when he marched in Greece.
Fact 17: Aristotle reported that lions were rare by 300 BCE and by 100 CE they were nearly extinguished.
Fact 18: The last European area for lions was the Caucasus (situated between black sea and Caspian Sea).
Fact 19: Lions became extinct in Palestine in the Middle Ages and they became extinct in other parts of Asia (except India) in around 18th century.
Fact 20: By 19th and 20th centuries, lions were an extinct species in Southwest Asia.
Fact 21: Northern India and Turkey saw near extinction of lions in late 19th century. There were numerous corpses of lions found on the banks of the River Karun in Khūzestān Province in the year 1944.
Fact 22: The last living lion to be seen in Iran (Dezful) was in 1942.
Fact 23: Lions are usually bred with tigers in zoos. The offspring are called liger (hybrid of male lion and a female tiger) or tigon (a hybrid of male tiger and a female lion).
Fact 24: Male ligers are sterile but few female ligers are fertile. A liger is usually bigger than both the tiger and the lion.
Fact 25: The tigons on the other hand are smaller compared to their parents. A lion crossed with leopard produces leopon. A lion crossed with a jaguar produces jaglions.
Lion Facts: Physical Characteristics of Lions
In this segment on lion facts we are going to learn about the physical build of lions, their color, sexual dimorphism and more.
Fact 26: Lion is a muscular animal, with round and short head, round ears and reduced neck. The underparts of the lion are usually lighter than the coat color.
Fact 27: Lion is the second largest big cat in the world. The largest big cat is the tiger.
Fact 28: The color of the fur varies from silver grey, yellow-red to even dark brown.
Fact 29: The coat of a lion may vary according to the region. The lions from a hot area usually have lighter color, while they have darker color when they live in the highly dense vegetation areas.
Fact 30: Did you know that lion is the only cat in its family to show sexual dimorphism? Male lions usually have brown or black hairs around the head and the neck.
Fact 31: This unique appearance known as mane differentiates them from the female lions.
Fact 32: The mane cover most of the head, shoulder, chest and neck.
Fact 33: The mane starts growing when the lion turns one year old. The length of the mane signals the fighting or dueling success in male-male relationships.
Fact 34: Lions with darker mane have longer reproductive lives and better cub survival but on the flip side they suffer the most in summer months.
Fact 35: The presence of the mane or the absence of it depends of level of testosterone, sexual maturity, genetic precondition, climate etc. Cool temperature results in heavier mane. Mane of African lions is thicker than the Asiatic lions.
Fact 36: A darker and fuller mane represents a healthy male lion. Unsurprisingly female lions choose lions with dark and thick mane.
Fact 37: It is believed that mane protects the vulnerable areas like neck and throat during fights with rivals.
Fact 38: Age of male lion can be guessed by looking at the mane. The darker the mane is, older the male lion
Fact 39: There are many male lions without a mane. Examples include west African lions of Pendjari National Park and lions in Dinder National Park in Sudan etc.
Fact 40: As mentioned earlier the mane is dependent on testosterone levels. The lower levels of the hormone in a lion or a lion which is castrated have little to no mane.
Fact 41: There are few lionesses with mane in northern Botswana as they have higher levels of testosterone in their blood.
Fact 42: It is generally thought that mane evolved around 320,000 to 190,000 years ago.
Fact 43: The tails are usually 2 – 3 feet long and the tail ends as a hairy tuft which is dark in color.
Fact 44: This tuft is around 5 millimeters long and it conceals the hard spur or spine (formed by the fused, final sections of the tail bone).
Fact 45: The function of the spur is not yet known. The tuft starts developing when the cubs are five and a half months old and by the age of seven months the tuft is identifiable.
Fact 46: The presence of tuft is a characteristic feature of a lion.
Fact 47: Tiger is the only big cat (or any cat in general) which can rival with lion in terms of length, height (at the shoulder), and weight.
Fact 48: The weight and size of adult lions varies from habitat to habitat but on an average the length of a male lion (head and body) is 72 – 82 inches or 184 – 208 centimeters. The length of a female lion is 63 to 72 inches or 160 to 184 centimeters.
Fact 49: The tail length of a male lion is 32.5 to 36.8 inches or 82.5 to 93.5 centimeters and for female lion, the tail length is 28.3 to 35.2 inches or 72 to 82.5 centimeters.
Fact 50: Weight of male and female lions in different habitats is listed in the table below:
|Habitat||Male lion||Female lion|
|Average Weight||155 to 169 kgs or 342 to 373 lbs.||90.5 to 138 kgs or 200 to 304 lbs.|
|Weight in Southern Africa||186.55 to 200.01 kgs or 411.3 to 440.9 lbs.||118.37 to 143.52 kgs or 261 to 316.4 lbs.|
|Weight in India||160 to 190 kgs or 350 to 420 lbs.||110 to 120 kgs or 240 to 260 lbs.|
|Weight in East Africa||174.9 kgs or 386 lbs.||119.5 kgs or 263 lbs.|
Fact 51: The heaviest lion to be ever recorded weighed 375 kilograms or 826 pounds.
Fact 52: The white lion doesn’t have albinism. White lion has a genetic condition called leucism (a condition of partial pigmentation loss). It is interesting to note that it has normal pigmentation in its eyes and skin.
Fact 53: Unfortunately, these mighty and majestic white lions are bred in South African camps only to be used as trophies to be killed in canned hunts (confined areas where the animal to be killed is kept in an enclosed area which increases the chances of killing).
Fact 54: Wild male lions can live for 12 years and females for 15 years approximately. They can live for nearly 25 years in captivity.
Lion Facts: Distribution and Habitat
Where can you find lions? This segment of lion facts will tell you that. Read on…
Fact 55: African lions are usually seen across Sub-Saharan Africa. They can be easily found in the savannahs, grassy plains, open grasslands. They rarely enter the rainforest.
Fact 56: The lions can be seen at a height of around 11,800 feet or 3,600 meters. Asiatic lions live only in Gir Forest National Park in Gujarat (a state of India).
Fact 57: Lions mostly live across North America, Europe, and Africa.
Fact 58: Though they are called “The King of the Jungle”, lions don’t usually live in forests or jungles.
Lion Facts: Reproduction in Lions
Ever wondered how the lions reproduce and how they raise their cubs? If you want to know the answers to those question, this segment of lion facts will give you the answers.
Fact 59: Usually lionesses become sexually mature by the age of 4. They are polyestrous (they can go in heat several times in a year) and hence, lions don’t just mate at any specific time.
Fact 60: The penis of lion has spines which are pointed backwards (this characteristic is seen in other cats as well including housecats).
Fact 61: During the mating season, the male lion usually stays closer to the female that is in heat. They don’t mate longer than a minute. But they do it every 15 to 30 minutes.
Fact 62: After mating when the male lion withdraws his penis, the spines rake the vagina which may cause ovulation.
Fact 63: Lioness usually mate with more than one male. The gestation period is 110 days. The litter usually consists of 1 to 4 cubs in a den which can be either cave, thicket or reed-bed etc. The den is usually present away from the pride (group of lions is called pride).
Fact 64: Did you know the cubs are also called a whelp or a lionet?
Fact 65: Did you know that the cubs are born with blue eyes? The color or hue of the eyes change from blue to either amber or brown by the time they turn two or three years.
Fact 66: The mother takes care of the cubs all alone and hunts for prey near the den. The mother frequently changes the den so that the predators don’t get the scent of the cubs.
Fact 67: Just like other cats, cubs are born blind and the cubs can open their eyes only within just 7 days.
Fact 68: They weigh around 2.6 to 4.6 pounds or 1.2 to 2.1 kilograms immediately after their birth and they start crawling after a day or two after they are born. They walk when they are around 3 weeks old.
Fact 69: Once the cubs are seven to eight weeks old, the mother starts integrating the cubs into the pride. The integration of cubs into the pride happens earlier if other lionesses also gave birth at around the same time.
Fact 70: The cubs stay a bit anxious and fearful but later on they start mingling with others – cubs and adults alike.
Fact 71: The females which gave birth to cubs around the same time are more tolerant towards cubs of other mothers. Males may or may not be tolerant towards cubs.
Fact 72: The females synchronize their reproductive cycles so that they can give birth to cubs at around same time which increases the survival rate of cubs.
Fact 73: The cubs are raised by all the mothers and not just nursing, the cubs even suckle other females other than their mothers without any problem.
Fact 74: The cubs wean after nearly six to seven months. At three years of age, male lions get mature and by the end of four to five years, they challenge the leader of either their pride or another pride. The lions in general live up to 10 to 15 years.
Fact 75: If a new male succeeds in ousting the previous males of a pride, then the new male usually kills the cubs because females don’t get receptive till the cubs become mature or till the cubs die.
Fact 76: Mothers often defend their cubs if any male tries to kill the cubs but they succeed only when three to four females (from the same pride) help the mother defending the cubs.
Fact 77: Cubs also die from predation by hyenas, leopards, and wild dogs or from starvation.
Fact 78: Nearly 80% of the cubs die before they reach two years of age.
Fact 79: Once mature, the male cubs are ousted from the pride but the females usually remain with the pride.
Fact 80: When the pride gets too large, then the female cubs are also ousted.
Fact 81: If a new male becomes the head of the pride, then the adolescent lions both male and female may get evicted from the pride.
Fact 82: It is interesting to note that male lions bond with other males well within the same pride.
Fact 83: Some say that this behavior (showing affection to same sex) is basically homosexuality while others think that it is pure bonding and nothing more.
Fact 84: Lions of Kenyan National Park and Gir Lions are bright examples of homosexuality or bonding.
Group Organization and Communication
How do lions communicate among themselves? Are they social animals? Do they live in groups or are they solitary animals? This segment of lion facts has all the answers you need.
Fact 85: The most social wild cat is the lion. Other wild cats are mostly solitary but lions live in a group called pride.
Fact 86: Groups of male lions are referred to as coalitions.
Fact 87: Females share good bond with each other in a pride and don’t entertain any females from outside the pride.
Fact 88: Females become members (of their birth pride) when they are born and they rarely leave a pride and live a solitary life.
Fact 89: A pride consists of about 15 lions which includes up to 4 males, multiple females and their cubs.
Fact 90: However, there are prides where the number of lions living together shoots up to 30.
Fact 91: Tsavo lion pride is the only exception because it has only one male and the male cubs are ousted from the pride once they turn 2 or 3 years old.
Fact 92: The lions which roam individually or sometimes in pairs are termed as nomads.
Fact 93: Pairs of lions are observed to be mostly male lions (cubs) who were ousted from their birth pride (a pride in which the lion is born).
Fact 94: A lion sometimes switches lifestyle from nomad to a resident and vice versa.
Fact 95: However, the interactions of resident and nomads are not very social but when females are in heat, they allow nomad male lions to approach them.
Fact 96: Males spend years to become a resident in a pride.
Fact 97: As per a study by Serengeti National Park, nomads become resident between 3.5 years and 7.3 years of their age.
Fact 98: Males move farther away from their birth pride and make their own territory whereas the females stay nearby to their birth pride.
Fact 99: Thus, females in an area are more closely related to each other than males in the given area.
Fact 100: The area which is occupied by a pride is referred to as pride area and the area occupied by a single lion is referred to as range.
Fact 101: Males patrol the borders of their pride areas.
Fact 102: Females are assigned near-specific roles in the pride like hunting, nursing etc. The females of a pride are extremely social.
Fact 103: Hunters of the pride are extremely important and they are the ones who eat the prey first.
Fact 104: Other benefits of staying in a pride are maintaining territory, sharing food (within the pride), protecting young ones, safety of individuals against hunger, injury etc.
Fact 105: Males and females help in defending their territory but males are proven to be more successful than females because of their large and powerful body.
Fact 106: Each lion in a pride is assigned a particular work depending on their strength, efficiency etc.
Fact 107: Besides these, males need to defend their relationship with pride from male lions (who are basically nomads) who may try to defeat them.
Fact 108: Male Asiatic lions are usually solitary or get social with two to three lions whereas females can form a type of pride of nearly 12 female lions.
Fact 109: Male and female Asiatic lions meet only when they have to mate.
Fact 110: Coalitions (groups of male lions) hold territories better than nomadic lions.
Fact 111: In coalitions of three to four lions, one male leads the coalition and others follow him and the leader gets to mate more frequently than others.
Fact 112: Expressive movements in lions are developed and the common gestures are head rubbing and social licking.
Fact 113: It is observed that head rubs are basically a type of greeting (head rub includes nuzzling of forehead, neck and face).
Fact 114: Males give head rubs to males, cubs and females give head rubs to each other.
Fact 115: Social licking of head and neck goes hand in hand with head rubs.
Fact 116: Social licking is done mostly on head and neck because those are the places that lions can’t lick.
Fact 117: Social licking is mutual and the recipient appears happy.
Fact 118: Apart from these gestures, lions portray a variety of facial expressions like flehmen response (grimace face) to show different emotions.
Fact 119: Their vocalizations are also varied (with variation in pitch, intensity etc.). Some of their vocalizations are purring, bleating, humming, puffing and roaring.
Fact 120: They mostly roar at night and their roar can be heard from a distance of around 8 kilometers or 5 miles. A lion’s roar is the loudest of any big cat. He is certainly the king when it comes to roaring!
Fact 121: They start with few long and deep roars and end with many short ones.
Fact 122: They also communicate through their markings i.e., they use claws, feces and urine to mark their territory.
Hunting Habits of Lions
How do lions capture? Are they ambush hunters or do they simply chase and kill their prey? Do they hunt in groups like gray wolves or do they go out on solo hunting adventures? This segment of lion facts will give you all the answers you need for your homework.
Fact 123: Lion is a hyper carnivore (a carnivore which has diet which contains more than 70% meat) and a generalist species (any species that can live in different environmental conditions).
Fact 124: It is both a keystone predator and an apex predator.
Fact 125: Lions hunt from dawn to dusk.
Fact 126: It might surprise you but lions have round pupils and not vertical pupils like domestic cats. Round pupils allow more light to enter the eyes, thereby giving good night vision and help them to hunt at night. On the other hand, vertical pupils help domestic cats to zero down on small preys.
Fact 127: Its prey includes ungulates which weigh 190 to 550 kilograms or 420 to 1,210 pounds. Example of ungulates hunted by lion are sambar deer, chital, etc. while zebras, African buffalo, giraffe, blue wildebeest, gemsbok etc. are preferred prey for lions.
Fact 128: Animals that they avoid are rhinoceroses, elephants (adult), hippopotamus and small animals like hyrax, vervet monkey, hare, dik-dik etc.
Fact 129: They kill other predators like cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena etc. but never eat them.
Fact 130: Other unusual preys are small reptiles and porcupines.
Fact 131: Lions don’t usually have any particular hunting time. They can hunt anytime they want, but they usually prefer to hunt in the night.
Fact 132: Cubs start showing “stalking behavior” when they are around three months old and join hunting after they turn one year old. They start hunting effectively when they turn two years old.
Fact 133: Single lions can easily bring down zebras, wildebeest etc. but hunting a buffalo or a giraffe singly is a bit difficult and risky.
Fact 134: Lionesses usually do the hunting (stalking, attacking and capturing).
Fact 135: But as per some evidence, males also hunt but they are ambush and solo hunters.
Fact 136: Lions can’t run fast for long (because of their smaller hearts – 0.57% of female’s body weight and 0.45% of male’s body weight) and hence they use some cover or hunt at night. They should be accurate most of the times.
Fact 137: Lions have a speed of 81 kilometers per hour or 50 miles per hour for short duration. They can leap as far as 36 feet!
Fact 138: They kill by giving a killer bite to the throat.
Fact 139: Sometimes they even kill by enclosing the nostrils and mouth in their jaws.
Fact 140: Lions eat the prey at the location where prey is killed.
Fact 141: The food is shared but during scarcity the cubs suffer the most.
Fact 142: When the food is plentiful, the old, crippled lions also get the share (leftovers).
Fact 143: Lioness (adult) requires around 5 kilograms or 11 pounds of meat a day and adult male requires nearly 7 kilograms or 15 pounds of meat a day.
Fact 144: In one session, they can stuff nearly 30 kilograms of meat in their tummies and if they can’t eat at one go; they take rest for some time and resume devouring the prey.
Fact 145: They defend their kills from scavengers like vultures.
Fact 146: You can call them lazy. They spend around 16 – 20 hours in a day sleeping or resting. So, they are basically active only for the remaining 8 to 4 hours when they protect their territory.
Fact 147: They are opportunistic hunters (opportunistic hunters are the hunters who eat dead animals or carrion).
Fact 148: The lions which scavenge keep an eye for circling vultures because that is where the carrion is present.
Fact 149: The dead bodies on which lions and hyenas feed are hunted down by hyenas.
Fact 150: It may be surprising but carrion makes up a large part of a lion’s diet.
Fact 151: Lions and hyenas share the ecological niche.
Fact 152: Hyenas steal 63% of all kills of lions and lions also steal sizeable portion of hyenas’ kills.
Fact 153: Hyenas either succeed in shooing the lions away or sometimes eat the prey alongside lions or wait for lions to finish.
Fact 154: Hyenas and lions kill each other even when the prey is not involved.
Fact 155: Lions are the reason for 71% of hyena deaths.
Fact 156: Lions dominate leopards, cheetahs and steal and kill the adults but, it is rare.
Fact 157: Cheetahs suffer the most and they avoid lions or leopards and stay in different habitat.
Fact 158: Leopards climb trees and keep their prey on the tree but there are instances where female lions climb the tree and steal the prey.
Fact 159: Lions steal the prey of African wild dogs also and kill their pups and sometimes the adults as well.
Fact 160: Wild dogs also hunt old and injured lions.
Fact 161: Lions occasionally kill crocodiles and vice versa.
Fact 162: Although lions drink water every day, they can manage to live without it for four or five days if needed.
Lion Facts: Human Interaction and Conservation
How good have humans been to lions? Did humans ever kill lions? Are lions at the brink of extinction? What conservation measures have been taken by us to protect lions? Find out the answers to all these questions in this segment of lion facts.
Fact 163: Lions were hunted from ancient times. Earliest surviving record of hunting lions is an Egyptian inscription dated 1380 CE which mentions that Amenhotep III (Pharaoh) hunted down 102 lions with his own arrows in first decade of his rule.
Fact 164: Many kingdoms and empires like Assyrians, Mughals etc. hunted lions or captured lions so that the lions can be hunted down by the kings or emperors.
Fact 165: Ancient Rome saw lions fighting against gladiators, and trophy hunting till date is present in South Africa.
Fact 166: From late 18th century, lions were a part of zoo. Lion taming started from the early 19th century.
Fact 167: Clyde Beatty, an American tamer, was the first person (possibly) in this world to use the iconic lion tamer’s chair.
Fact 168: Lions in general don’t hunt humans but sometimes lions, mostly males, hunt humans. Tsavo maneaters stand out shining. There were two maneless male lions named Ghost and Darkness. These lions were bigger than the normal lions and were extremely powerful.
Fact 169: They terrorized the construction workers who came to build a bridge over Tsavo River in Kenya. They resided in an area around Kenya-Uganda Railway. It happened in 1898.
Fact 170: John Henry Patterson, Lieutenant-Colonel, was the in charge of the project of constructing the bridge over Tsavo River. He was the one who killed both the lions.
Fact 171: The exact numbers of human kills by these lions vary from account to account but the approximate number is around 135.
Fact 172: Because of habitat loss, lions are forced to hunt down humans. Age and injury are also a couple of factors which make lions maneaters.
Fact 173: As of now, there are around 10,000 African lions and 1,000 Asiatic lions living in zoos, and wildlife parks all over the world.
Fact 174: Lion is listed as Vulnerable in IUCN Red List. There are many wildlife parks in Africa like Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Waza National Park, Alatash National Park etc. which help in protecting the lions.
Fact 175: However, the population of lions is still declining in the African regions. Presently most of the lions reside in East Africa and Southern Africa.
Fact 176: From 2002 to 2004, the number of African lions present in the wild was between 16,500 and 47,000 present.
Fact 177: As of 2014, Odzala-Kokoua National Park didn’t have a single lion and lions are considered as locally extinct species there.
Fact 178: West African lion stays isolated from the lions of Central Africa and as of 2015, there were around 400 lions and out of those 400, only 250 of them are mature.
Fact 179: This population is listed as Critically Endangered and is protected in three areas viz. W National Park (Niger), Arli National Park (Burkina Faso), and Pendjari National Park (Benin).
Fact 180: Year 2015 was positive for lions as an adult male and female lion were, for the first time, sighted in Mole National Park (Ghana) in 39 years and 200 lions were filmed in Alatash National Park that were thought to be extinct.
Fact 181: In the year 2005, Lion Conservation Strategies were started in almost whole of Africa. These strategies try to maintain the lion habitat, ensure that sufficient prey is available for lions etc.
Fact 182: Gir National Park in the state of Gujarat in India is the only place where lions can be found in Asia.
Fact 183: The situation of lions in Asia is a bit better than African lions. There were 180 lions in 1974 and by 2010 the number increased to 400.
Fact 184: However, the Asiatic lion is listed as Endangered in IUCN Red List. By 2015, the numbers grew to 523 and as of 2017; there were around 650 Asiatic lions in Gir National Park.
Fact 185: In the 19th century, lions were imported from Africa to Europe for the purpose of breeding.
Fact 186: Oxford University and WildLink International started an International Barbary Lion Project to identify Barbary lions and breed them in captivity so that they can be reintroduced into the national parks of Morocco’s Atlas Mountains.
Fact 187: In the year 1982, Species Survival Plan was started by Association of Zoos and Aquariums for Asiatic lions.
Fact 188: However, it was found that the lions in North American zoos were a mix breed of African and Asiatic lions. Hence captive breeding was stopped to weed out these mix breed lions.
Fact 189: American zoos started bringing wild-born lions of Africa from 1989 to 1995. This sort of captive breeding continued till 1998.
Fact 190: Even after these steps, nearly 77% of the lions which are registered in International Species Information System in the year 2006 were actually of unknown origin.
Lion Facts: Health of Lions
Are lions susceptible to diseases? If yes, what type of diseases affect them? Find out everything you need to know in this segment of lion facts.
Fact 191: Though the adult healthy lions don’t have any predators, lions die because of humans hunting and other lions attacking.
Fact 192: Lions from one pride attack and inflict deadly injuries to the lions of other prides when they encounter in disputes of territory.
Fact 193: As mentioned earlier, injured, old lions and cubs fall prey to leopards, hyenas and other predators. They even get trampled by buffaloes, elephants etc.
Fact 194: Ticks infest the ears, groin area and neck of the lions. Other insects like tapeworm, stable fly also occasionally attack the lions. In 1962, lions were attacked by stable flies in Ngorongora Crater in Tanzania and the bites left bloody, bare patches on the skin of the lions.
Fact 195: Many of the lions died trying to save themselves from these flies and some of them migrated. Out of 70 lions, only 15 were left.
Fact 196: A similar outbreak happened in 2001 which took 6 lives.
Fact 197: Captive lions sometimes get infected with canine distemper virus which is spread by domestic dogs, cats etc.
Fact 198: Serengeti National Park saw the outbreak of canine distemper virus which led to deaths of lions from encephalitis and pneumonia.
Fact 199: Other viruses which affect the captive lions are lentivirus and feline immunodeficiency virus.
Cultural Significance of Lions
How did different cultures of the world perceive lions? Did lions signify anything in various cultures? It is about time you find out the answers to those questions in this segment of lion facts.
Fact 200: Across the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa lions stood as a symbol of nobility and strength.
Fact 201: As it is often termed as “the King of the jungles” and “King of the beasts”, it is considered as a symbol of royalty.
Fact 202: Caves of France’s Lascaux and Chauvet had carvings and paintings which dated 15,000 to 17,000 years old.
Fact 203: An ivory carving of a lioness-headed woman which was found in Vogelherd Cave in Swabian Alb (Germany) is dubbed as lion-human (Löwenmensch) in German language.
Fact 204: The sculpture is around 32,000 years old and is considered to have originated from Aurignacian culture.
Fact 205: In sub-Saharan African regions, lions are depicted in stories, folklore, songs, proverbs, dances etc. Lion was known as “simba” which mean “aggressive”, “strong” and “king”.
Fact 206: Some of the rulers even had the word “lion” as their nickname. For example: Richard the Lionheart.
Fact 207: Mali Empire’s Sundiata Keita was often called the “Lion of Mali”.
Fact 208: It is said that the founder of Waalo Kingdom was actually raised by lions and he came back as part-lion to unite the people with the knowledge that he got from the lions.
Fact 209: In few parts of west Africa region, lions are symbolized as the top class of the social hierarchies there.
Fact 210: In eastern and western Africa, lions are considered as the link between supernatural and seers and are linked with healing and in other parts of east Africa; it is considered as the symbol of laziness.
Fact 211: Figures and amulets with lion heads were excavated in Crete, Rhodes, Chios, Euboea etc. These amulets and figures were associated with Sekhmet – an Egyptian deity, and they are dated back to Iron age (9 BCE to 6 BCE).
Fact 212: Greeks and Romans used Nemean lion (a monster in Greek mythology) to represent Leo, the zodiac sign.
Fact 213: In Greek mythology, Heracles wears the skin of Nemean lion symbolizing his victory over death.
Fact 214: Heroes like Gawain and Lancelot are famous for slaying lions.
Fact 215: The picture of lions is used on coats of arms and as supporters for the shields.
Fact 216: Egyptians showed many of their war deities as lionesses. Some of the deities who are portrayed as lions are Pakhet, Menhit, Bast, Sekhmet etc.
Fact 217: The famous Sphinx has the body of a lion and the face of a human. Sphinx was built to guard some vital areas like temples or tombs.
Fact 218: In ancient Mesopotamia (from Sumer civilization to Babylonian civilization), lions were related to kingship.
Fact 219: One of the major symbols of Goddess Ishtar is lions. Lion of Judah is the national and cultural symbol of Jews.
Fact 220: Lions are mentioned many a times in the Bible.
Fact 221: In India, lions are referred to as “mrigendra” connoting that the lion is the King of the Jungle.
Fact 222: The word “Singh” means lion. It is a word from India’s ancient language – Sanskrit.
Fact 223: The name is still used by some sectors of Hindu population like Rajputs, Punjabis etc. and used by Sikhs.
Fact 224: In Hindu religion, Narasimha (Lord Vishnu with head of a lion) is one of the 10 avatars of Lord Vishnu.
Fact 225: Lion Capital, erected by Asoka, the emperor, is the national emblem of India.
Facts 226: Sinhalese people (native of Sri Lanka) also use lions for symbolization. The very word “Sinhala” means people with blood of lion or lion people.
Fact 227: Lion was used as a motif in China from around 5 BCE to 6 BCE. These motifs became famous during Han Dynasty (206 BCE to 220 CE).
Fact 228: It is interesting to note that the motifs were pretty unrealistic because lions are not native to China. They heard of lions’ structure, physical build, and mane etc. characteristics and added their own imagination and created motifs.
Fact 229: During Tang dynasty (post 6th CE), lions were depicted more or less in a realistic way because Buddhist art was introduced in China.
Fact 230: Lion dance is a traditional dance of China where the dancers in the lion costumes imitates the movements of lions.
Fact 231: Lion dance is performed on important days like August Moon Festival, Chinese New Year etc.
Fact 232: The word Singapore is derived from a malay words called “Singa” which means lion and “Pora” which means city. So, basically Singapore means city of lion.
Fact 233: Lions are also depicted in movies, books etc. Some notable movies are the Lion King, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
Fact 234: Some of the famous novels which included lion as a character are The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Born Free, Lion King etc.
Fact 235: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayor studios used lion as a mascot since 1920s.
Fact 236: Did you know that lion is the national animal of countries like Singapore, The Netherlands, England, Belgium, Albania, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, and Luxembourg.
Just Random Lion Facts
Here are just a few random and fun lion facts that you will definitely enjoy. Read on…
Fact 237: Did you know that when lions walk, their heels don’t touch the ground?
Fact 238: Desert-adapted lions are huge and have leaner bodies and longer legs than the lions which are found in grasslands, jungles etc. They hunt on small preys like antelope, mice, few birds etc.
Fact 239: They can actually go on without drinking water for 2 weeks! They depend on the blood of the prey for moisture.
Fact 240: Lions are really good at swimming just like tigers.
This concludes our list of lion facts, in case you think we have missed something important or something very basic that we should have mentioned in this list, drop us a message. We will add the information to our list of lion facts.
1… Science Kids
2… Nat Geo Kids