Hey everyone! I was busy helping one of my best friends celebrate her 30th birthday yesterday, so I had no opportunity to do Caturday. But here it is! A day late but none the worse for wear.
The Lion (Panthera leo) is unusual among wild cat species for being a social cat, and is one of the four Big Cat species of the genus Panthera - the second largest living cat species of cat after the Tiger. Lions can be found in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, a much smaller territory than they had occupied in recorded human history, which included Northern Africa and Southwest Asia. Lions were the most widespread large land mammal aside from humans about 10,000 years ago. But even within the past 20 years, the lion population has seen a decline of 30-50%, making it a vulnerable species.
Lions can now be found in savannah and grassland, although they can occupy bush and forest areas as well. Lions live in family groups called prides, consisting of a group of female lions, juveniles and cubs of both genders, and one or two adult males. The lionesses typically do the bulk of the hunting, targeting large ungulates - some prides have been known to focus on animals as large as elephants. Lions do not typically hunt humans - although some have been known to do so.
Male lions can weigh up to 550 lbs. and have a body length (from base of the tail to tip of the nose) of 8 feet 2 inches. Lionesses are smaller on average, weighing 400 lbs. and measuring 5 feet nine inches. Lions are primarily nocturnal but can also engage in crepuscular activity. Lions are known for their distinctive vocalizations, particularly their roar, which is the loudest of any cat.