Why is the lion formidable?

While it is delightful to learn that antelopes and kangaroos are fast runners, it is a bit daunting to find out that lions are equally fast! A lion can reach a top speed of 81 km/h, so if you are planning on outrunning this magnificent beast, be warned!

When one adds brute strength to lethal speed (a lion weighs about 250 kg and reaches a length of 2.7 or 3 metres), it is no wonder that this formidable predator is undoubtedly and indisputably the ‘king of the jungle’.

In real life the lion is mostly found in the grasslands and savannas of Africa. The only population of wild lions that inhabit a forest habitat is the Asiatic lion in the Gir National Park in Gujarat, India.

Lions are quite adaptable and can live in dry areas as well as forested regions. Lions living in desert regions like the Kalahari, have been known to get water from wild watermelons called tsamma melons.

The lion is the only species of cat that will hunt in a group. It can eat 40 kgs of meat in a single sitting! They like to hunt at night as they have excellent night vision. This gives them an advantage over their prey. They also like to hunt during storms as the noise makes it harder for prey to hear them.

Lionesses do most of the hunting for food. Lions have more of a protective role in a pride. Lionesses form well-coordinated groups when pursuing prey. Some will move towards the centre of a hunting group while others move towards the wings. The wing members chase the prey towards the centre. The hapless prey stands very little chance against a pack of lionesses!

Interestingly lions are the only known cat species who roar together with even the young cubs joining in. Prides often roar together to mark their territory. A roar can be heard many kilometres away. Threats to lions include habitat loss, poaching and human-lion conflict. These apex predators are listed under ‘Vulnerable’ in the IUCN Red List.

Picture Credit : Google 

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