Lion’s are undoubtedly synonymous with the continent of Africa and is usually at the top of the ‘must-see’ list for tourists on safari. A female Lion can be identified from a male Lion by their smaller size and weight: 130kg compared to the 200kg of males. But females can also be identified by their white underparts and a sandy coloured tinge. Male Lions are also a little taller at 1.2 metres at the shoulders compared with females that are generally found at 1 metre maximum. Lions are carnivores and are a predator for numerous large animals such as Buffalo, Gemsbok, Giraffe, Wildebeest and Zebra. But occasionally they will target smaller prey such as Impala, Steenbok and even Porcupine when the opportunity arises. Interestingly, despite their lower weight and smaller size, the female lionesses of a pride will do most of the hunting in teams. Lions generally do not have a breeding season, but females will sometimes synchronise births after a gestation period of 110 days, and one to four cubs are born. The cubs are hidden for 6 weeks and they will begin to eat meat after 1 weeks. Females suckle both their own cubs and one another’s cubs for up to 6 months, and the young remain dependent on the pride up to 3 years after being born. The structure of the pride is very important to both hunting and breeding successfully: Prides are commonly structured to consist of 2 to 12 related females and their young cubs along with dominant males who have breeding rights. The roar of a Lion can be heard for kilometres in the surrounding area, but aside from roaring Lions also communicate by scent-marking their territories and will display aggression by showing their canine teeth and retracting their ears to show the dark patch behind them with their tails twitching in irritation. Sub-Saharan Africa is the last refuge for this endangered super-predator including such countries as Tanzania, Kenya Botswana and South Africa.

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