The Lion – King of the Forest
The lion has fascinated the human beings ever since the prehistoric times. It epitomizes the supremacy in the animal kingdom and the man has always been immensely proud to win over the lion.
No doubt, the lion is the most famous, powerful and a big creature in the cat family. He is a symbol of royalty, beauty, and power.
Lions can live both in cool climates and in the heat of semi-desert areas. Most of them live in the woodlands, grassy plains and the mountains with thorny scrub trees. They are found in Europe, Africa, Middle East, and India. Because of indiscriminate killing of lions of by the men, their numbers have decreased to an alarming level.
However, there have been some positive changes in recent years. As against 411 lions in 2010, India had around 523 lions in 2015.
A male lion usually weights about 160 to 180 kg (350 to 450 pounds), but some weight up to 230 kg (500 pound). Males are about 10 feet (3 meters) long. The lions are about 3.5 feet (101 cm) tall. Lionesses are about a feet shorter in length than the males and weight about 113 to 140 kg (250 to 300 pounds).
The lions live in a group, called pride. A pride consists of 10 to 20 lions or as many as 35. The female lion, called lioness gives birth to the young ones, called cubs. A liter may include from 1 to 6 cubs.
The average life span of a lion is 20 to 25 years in captive and 15 to 20 years in the wild. The gestation period of a lioness is about 3.5 months.
They sleep and rest for about 20 hours a day. They usually walk about 8 km in a day. If they had a big meal, they may rest for 24 hours. If hungry, they may travel as far as 15 miles (24 km), in search of food.
A cub may nurse on any lioness that has milk, besides its own mother.