African lion is a big cat with short, tawny colored fur and white under parts. The long tail ends with a black tuft. The lions display sexual dimorphism with males, having their distinctive manes, ranging in color from black to blond. They develop their manes at the age of 3 years. Meanwhile, manes of those, living in open areas, are notably fuller. The mane makes lion look much larger than it is, helping the animal intimidate the opponent during confrontations with other lions as well the Spotted Hyena, which is the animal"s primary competitor throughout its range. Young lions have grayish coat, covered with brown markings, which then disappear by the age of 3 months. However, lions in eastern Africa tend to retain these spots on their stomach.

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Pack hunters


Ambush predator


Apex predator






Not a migrant


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Presently, African lions are distributed across sub-Saharan region of Africa. They prefer savanna grasslands with scattered Acacia trees, where they can hide from the sun.

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Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, DR Congo, Ethiopia, India, Show More Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Rwanda, Togo Show Less

Habits and Lifestyle

These animals can be either nocturnal, being active at night, or crepuscular, showing increased activity at dusk and before sunset. Lions spend the greater part of the day (up to 20 hours) resting. These animals rest in order to save energy, in the absence of prey or to escape the midday heat. African lions are highly social animals, gathering in groups or prides, which include up to 3 male lions and multiple lionesses with their young. Prides are defended by males, who patrol and mark the territory. However, there"s a harsh competition between males for the territory and position in the pride. In a case if another male overcomes the leading male of the pride, he usually kills all cubs, sired by the previous male. Meanwhile, males do not tend to hunt due to their slow speed and eye-catching appearance. Instead, hunting is left to females of the pride, who hunt in groups, cooperating with each other during their hunting trips. The females are excellent hunters: they are faster and more agile than males, able to hunt down animals that are much bigger and faster than them.