By Kelly McPherson 

The majestic lion has long been a symbol of strength, power and ferocity for as long as humans have been aware of its existence, even in astrology the lion or LEO star sign, is considered the king of the zodiac.

The sad reality is that that these majestic big cats are threatened by habitat loss and are listed as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The lion was once found throughout Africa, Asia and Europe but now only exists in Africa with one exception. The last remaining Asiatic lions are found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India.

Even though the lion is referred to as “The King of the Jungle”, it actually only lives in grasslands and plains. ‘Jungle’ comes from the Hindi word ‘jāńgala’ meaning ‘rough and arid (terrain)’.

  1. A lion can run for short distances at 80 km per hour and can leap over 11 meters, so if you are ever confronted with one of these creatures in the wild, chances are you won’t outrun or outjump it.
  2. You can hear a lion’s roar from 8km away which will give you plenty of notice that they are out there and a bit of a head start if you want to run away.
  3. The age of a male lion is easily determined by the colour of its mane, the darker and more full the mane, the older the lion. This is the complete opposite to human males whose mane (also known as hair) traditionally gets lighter when they age and in many cases falls out!
  4. A lion is a true stalker; its heels don’t touch the ground when they walk, effectively meaning that a lion tippy toes everywhere they go.
  5. The male lion’s job is to defend its pride, other than that they don’t do very much, the females do 90% of the hunting but still let their male eat first, which is nice of them but is also a good investment into their prides protection.
  6. A lion can sleep for up to 20 hours a day, not unlike most teenagers.
  7. When lionesses come into heat, a male will not leave her alone for a few days during which time the two will mate every 15 minutes or so which means they can mate a total of several hundred times over those few days, no wonder they can sleep for up to 20 hours!
  8. A lion in captivity can live up to 13 years but their life span is considerably less in the wild, most likely because nothing is trying to kill them while they are in captivity.
  9. Although lions can hunt at any time, when they go after big prey, it tends to be at night and it is only successful about 50% of the time.
  10. The only real predator of a lion is a human. We are responsible for them being on the list of threatened species, hopefully we will be responsible for saving them.

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