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Lion (Panthera leo)

The lion is a large predator from the “Cats” family and one of the four representatives of the Panther genus.

The lion is found in Africa - most often in semi-deserts and less often in deserts, and in some parts of India. In Africa, lions are found primarily in savannah grasslands with isolated scattered acacia trees that serve as shades. In India, habitats include mixed dry savanna forest and very dry deciduous forest.

The lion is the second largest animal from the “Cats” family, after the tiger, living on Earth today. It reaches a weight of up to 250 kg. According to the height in its withers area, it is the tallest cat among the representatives of the family. Its life expectancy is 15-20 years in nature. The maximum speed when pursuing its prey reaches 60 km/h. The lion can bring down and kill quite large prey with its powerful legs, strong jaws and cuspids up to 8 cm long. The color of the lion's fur varies from light beige to yellowish, reddish or dark brown. In most cases, the lower part is lighter, and the tail tassel is black. The mane color can be from yellow to black. The tail ends in a black fur tassel. The tassel is absent at birth. It forms around the 5th month, and is fully developed around the 7th month.

The Asiatic lions differ from African lions in the distinctive belly coloring and the smaller mane of males. The most significant difference between male and female lions is the lack of mane and tail tassel in lionesses.

Lions are the only cat species that live in groups. They feed themselves by killing their prey. The family group, called a “pride”, consists of 1 to 4 males / most often 1-2 / usually brothers / and of 3 to 10 females / in some cases even more /. The size of the pride depends on the territory and the food resources there. Usually, the females hunt and the males take care of the security of their pride. Each clan occupies a territory of about 10-25 km2, controlled and marked by the leaders every day, leaving tracks or roaring loudly. Alien lions are not allowed on this territory. The lions spend most of the day sleeping. They hunt during the cool hours - at dusk or at night. During the warmest hours of the day, lions relax near water, under the shade of plants or rocks. The lions sleep 12-18 hours a day.

The lions breed at the end of the dry season. Females reach sexual maturity at the age of four. After a pregnancy lasting about three and a half months, the lioness gives birth to four lion cubs on average. The cubs are blind and helpless with visible spots on their fur. In the beginning (up to 6-7 months), the lion cubs are fed only with milk, but soon the mother starts giving them semi-digested food. The lioness takes care of the cubs for two years, teaching them to hunt during the second half of this period. The male lion cubs which have reached the age of two are expelled from the pride, so that the lion-leader is not displaced.