A lot of
people are not aware that lions do not come as a single
type. There are eight subspecies of lions. The most well
known of them all are the African
lions. What exactly sets this subspecies
is that of the eight subspecies, six are generally called
African lions. This is mainly because these six subspecies
are found in Africa. The two other non-African subspecies
are the Panthera leo melanochaita or Cape lion and the
Panthera leo persica or the Asian or Persian lion.
The six African lion subspecies are the Barbary
lion, West African lions, North East Congo
lion, Massai African lions, Katanga
African lions and the Transvaal African lions.
African subspecies are the most studied in the world. Since
they are more popular than the other two subspecies, the
term King of the Jungle is often attributed to them. This
term however has long been discovered to be inaccurate. As
you may quickly observe, African subspecies do not really
live in jungles. They instead populate the wide Savannahs of
being one of the most popular and intimidating members of
the cat family, African lions are really only the second
largest cat. Tigers are bigger than lions. Even so, lions
have the loudest roar among all other cats. African
subspecies are also quite heavy, with males averaging 440
lbs and females averaging 330 lbs.
African Lions and Their
African lions and lionesses must all be part of a group
called a pride. Lion prides can have members of up to 40.
Most of the members are females with cubs and only a few
males. The reason for this is that the presence of more than
one strong male can create leadership issues. Only one male
is allowed to dominate the pride. Other male members of the
pride must therefore leave and fight their way to become the
top male of another pride.
membership is a must for all African lions. It is a matter
of survival. Like a large extended family, pride members
take care of each other’s needs. Lionesses hunt for food and
take care of their young. The male lion in the pride offers
protection and goes against any male lion that wishes to
pose a challenge.
Physical Traits of African
lions seem perfectly built to fight and hunt. They have
large muscular bodies and strong hind limbs that allow them
to pounce on their prey easily. They have large jaws and
sharp teeth that let them efficiently bite through a prey or
an opponent. Their tails provide balance when they are in
action. They have very fine tuned senses and are able to
smell and see even in limited lighting.
mane of male African lions is partly a tool of aggression.
Although males do not hunt, they do have to fight aggressors
or fight to join a pride. Their large, brown manes attract
females and intimidate other animals and lions.
African lions are truly a remarkable, if not a
frightening beast to behold. Even if a lot has been
understood and discovered about the African subspecies, you
don’t want African lions staking you in a