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Lion and lionessLion and lioness The lion is a tawny-coloured big cat that lives in Africa and a small part of India. Unlike other big cats, lions live together in groups called prides. A pride consists of females, who are related to each other, their offspring and a small number of adult males. Groups of lionesses hunt together, preying mostly on large herbivores, such as zebra, wildebeest, impalas, buffaloes and warthogs in Africa, and deer in India. Lions are also scavengers of other predators' kills. Sleeping during the day, they are nocturnal hunters. Lions are often described as the "king of beasts" and are a popular symbol of royalty and bravery.

Male lionMale lion


Male lions are larger than females, and have shaggy manes. Their job is to defend the pride, the family group, and its territory from other male lions. The mane of the adult male is their most distinctive feature. It makes them appear larger and more intimidating both to competing males or their rival predators on the African savanna, spotted hyenas. When selecting mates, lionesses favour males with the thickest, darkest manes—that is, those that are stronger and healthier. 

Lion familyLion family
A pride of lions, roaringA pride of lions, roaringClick to play video

Prides and nomads

The lion is the second largest cat after the tiger. It is the tallest (at the shoulder) of all cats, measuring on average about 14 cm (5.5 inches) taller than the tiger.

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