African lions are the only cats which have close-knit social groups and the only ones that regularly hunt in groups.
The basic unit of lion social life is a pride.
The classic lion pride consists of 2 to 12 closely related females and their cubs.
Usually 1 to 6 adult male lions that are often closely related to each other attend to the females.
The lionesses form the stable core of the pride while the males are exchanged every few years.
The reason why lions are so sociable range from-
Lion prides with a rich, reliable food supply can afford to be territorial.
When food supply is unpredictable the prides have huge home ranges that are too large to defend.
In these cases encounters between lions from different prides are very hostile, but actual fighting is rare.
Both lions and lionesses signal their occupation of an area by scent marking with urine and by roaring.
Roars can carry for a good 8 km and advertises a lion’s location.
It also shows that an area is occupied and allows pride members to keep track of one another.
Lions can run at about 60 kilometers per hour, which is too slow to catch antelope in an open chase.
Lion attacks are more successful in long grass and thick bush, when the target is alone and when they are able to stalk close, and on very dark nights.
Chases longer than 300 meters are rare.
Lion usually kills by a strangling throat hold or by clamping its mouth over the muzzle of the prey.
To avoid the heat of the day African lions are most active at night.
Lions sleep away most of the day because it is usually too hot to hunt.
Sunlight also foils most efforts to sneak up on prey.
African lions have no specific habitat preference so they can be encountered anywhere, except in forests.
habitats include -
The good news for the African lion safari tourist is that this means that they are not that difficult to find.
They are abundant in large reserves.
You will often find them lying in the open field and see that they are mostly very tolerant of vehicles.
Every lion has the same goal.
Food is energy required for survival.
The only way to secure food is to fight for it which means aggression is the norm at feeding time.
It is a fact that they are extremely aggressive while feeding - snarling, pawing and snapping at one another.
The pride males dominate the females, and may drive them off the kill.
A male and female away from the pride are probably mating, which guarantees constant action.
A lioness becomes sexually receptivefor two to four days about once every two years.
The pride males detect her condition by scent.
Lions may mate hundreds of times during the three- to four-day estrous of the female.
Mating occurs about four times an hour over a period of one to two days and lasts for less than a minute each time.
This prodigious frequency probably stems from the high failure rate of matings. Only, about one in three copulations results in cubs.
By being difficult to inseminate, females are probably ensuring that they conceive to a healthy male.
African males lions play a critical role in protecting cubs from intruding males.
Did you know that after a group of African lion males takes over a pride they will kill all lion cubs currently in the pride?
For the lioness it provides a level of assurance in that the more persistent the male lion is, the greater likelihood that the male will stick around until the cubs are grown.
Male lions within a pride do not compete for matings.
The female may turn her attentions to one of the other pride males as each loses interest in her.
This abundance of sexual opportunities keeps male rivalry at low levels within a pride.
Savage and sometimes-fatal fights can however occur if an intruding male is encountered.
After mating you may see both male and female roll on the ground, groom or rub against each other.
What are the African lion facts about their diet (what do lions eat?)
How effective are African lions when they set out hunting etc.?