Contrary to their popularly known name “king of the jungle,” lions live in grasslands, open woodlands, and scrubs of sub-Saharan Africa. Slightly dwarfed by the tiger, lions are the second-largest cats globally with almost similar body types as tigers. Unlike other cats, lions are very social animals, and they live in groups called “prides.” a pride comprises up to thirty lions, including males, females, and cubs. Usually, the availability of food and water determines the pride size. So, when resources are scarce, prides can be smaller than thirty. For those readers looking for a captivating read about lion facts for kids, continue reading till the end.
Interesting Lion Facts for Kids About Male & Female Lions
Both female and male members of a lion pride are powerful. They roar to keep track of each other, and these roars can be heard up to 5 miles. Males and females have different roles in the pride. Male lions spend most of their time guarding their cubs and territories. They are responsible for maintaining territory boundaries, which can be as large as 260 sq km or greater, depending on the pride. They roar and mark boundaries with urine while chasing off intruders. When these male members fight with challengers, their thick manes protect their necks.
An unpopular lion facts for kids: Unlike males, lionesses are the primary hunters. Due to their smaller size, they are more swift than males. They use teamwork to chase their game and bring an animal down. They fan out, form semicircles, and weaker lionesses herd the prey in the center. Then, a bigger and more potent female knocks it down and makes the kill.
Lion Facts for Kids – Lions & Their Hunting Habits
Unlike cheetahs, lions hunt at night. Their game usually includes buffaloes, antelope, rhinos, zebras, young elephants, hippos, crocodiles, wild dogs, and giraffes. Sometimes they also kill smaller prey like birds, tortoises, hares, mice, or lizards.
Another intriguing lion facts for kids: Like other predators, they also steal the game of inferior animals like wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards, or hyenas and don’t mind scavenging spoiled meat. Once they finish a successful hunt, all lions share the meal with a pecking order – the adult males take the first claim, followed by lionesses, and the cubs at last.
Do You Know How Lions Function? Another Lion Facts for Kids
Lions have a solid digestive system, enabling them to overindulge and then go for seconds shortly after. If water is available, they will drink it regularly but can go 4-5 days without it. Their bodies obtain moisture from the stomach contents of their prey, quenching their thirst.
Lions are the laziest of the big cats as they spend 16-20 hours of the day sleeping or resting. They usually lie on their backs with their feet up or snooze up in trees. During their lazy time, they are affectionate towards pride members, and they rub heads and purr to show affection.
Are you looking for lion facts for kids? Here’s one: A lioness births 2-3 cubs at a time, and usually, a couple of females give birth at the same time. This makes it easy to raise the cubs together, and sometimes, they are also nursed communally.
Female cubs stay with the pride as they age and become capable hunters by the time they turn two. On the contrary, males are forced out of the pride at this age. Then, they form bachelor groups and follow migrating herds until they grow to be strong enough when they can challenge male lions of other prides.
Lion cubs have a 60-70% mortality rate, and they are vulnerable to predators. Sometimes cubs are also trampled by larger animals like buffaloes. When one pride takes over another, it kills all the cubs to sire their own offspring with the lionesses.
Lion Facts for Kids – How Do Lions Attack Their Prey?
Lions break their prey’s neck and suffocate it by clamping their jaws around its throat. Then they use the stomach as it is the easiest point of entry into the carcass and gives them access to some nutrition-packed body parts like the liver and kidneys. After an initial feed, lions rest close enough to their game to defend their kill against scavengers.
Lions take up to 24 hours before they abandon their game. In a short time, vultures arrive, followed by other scavengers such as jackals and hyenas. Once many scavengers gather, spectacular fights occur among these scavengers for the leftovers.
Lions Are Extremely Patient While Hunting – Exciting Lion Facts for Kids
Lions are experienced in being patient while hunting because most of their preferred targets are fast. While hunting, they stay hidden in grass with zero movements and wait for a long time for the prey to get closer. Sometimes they have to wait for several hours for a single catch because even a slight movement can ruin their plans. This shows that they are extremely patient in their hunting habits. When the game is close enough, they attack and make the kill.
Lions Follow a Distinctive Hunting Patterns
Their hunting strategies vary according to their strength, size, and the prey’s aggressiveness. Almost all lions follow a cooperative plan for big animals. When attacking on wildebeest, zebra, or buffalo, they encircle the herd from all the sides, gradually move close, and then charge. Lions prefer to attack the weaker and older members of the herd. They hide in the grass maintaining a low profile. With slow and steady moves, they get forward and capture the prey. Mostly, they opt for a straight-forward chase & hunt strategy for the smaller prey.
Lions choose to hide when attacking smaller prey whereas they attack head-on without hiding when attacking the herd of gigantic animals like Cafe buffalo. They cover the herd, make chaos, and separate the herd. This strategy can often be risky for a lion’s life as buffalos are bulky and aggressive. So, they need to chase very carefully.
Once separating the herd and finishing the chase, they attack the far separated ones by jumping on their backs and biting the end of the buffalo’s spinal cord. As a result, the animal slows down and lions from all sides gather to attack and jump on the prey. Their combined effort of scratching and biting causes the bone to damage, thereby killing the animal.
Lions are by far the only predators who have both traits of being social and courageous. When hunting for game, the size does not matter. They chase their target and capture it successfully most of the time. Their distinctive hunting strategy sets them apart from other predators. Their remarkable courage is the reason they are called “king of the beasts.”
Lions and Their Conservation Status – Fun Lion Facts for Kids
African lions are heading towards extinction and are very vulnerable in today’s age. They are highly threatened by loss of habitat and under a risk of extinction. They are also killed by humans as hunting trophies, medicinal purposes, bravery rituals, or for protecting their livestock.
Another lion facts for kids about widespread diseases: Lions are also susceptible to tick-borne diseases such as babesia and distemper. Babesia occurs during droughts when a lion’s prey is malnourished and vulnerable to diseases whereas distemper spreads from neighboring village dogs and hyenas. When these diseases are combined, it can cause mass fatalities in lion populations.
Lesser known Lion Facts for Kids
- Lions and Prides: African lions are the most social animals of all bigger cats. They form groups together and move around in prides.
- Male and Female Roles: Males are responsible to defend the territory whereas females take care of most of the hunting.
- Habitat Loss: Lions are under a constant threat and are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- High Extinction Rate: The lions that were once found in Asia, Africa, and Europe now exist only in Africa. The last remaining lions of Asia are only found in Sasan-Gir National Park in India which contains approximately 400 lions. The park was primarily created to protect lions and prevent extinction.
- Powerful Roar: A lion’s roar is extremely powerful and can be heard from as far as 5 miles away.
- High Speed: Lions run short distances at 50 mph and can leap as far as 36 feet.
- Mostly Lazy: Lions are pretty lazy and usually sleep up to 20 hours a day.
- King of the Jungle: This expression comes from an incorrect association between Africa and jungles because lions prefer living in plains and grasslands.
- Darkness of the Mane: A lion’s age can be determined by its mane. The darker the mane, the older the lion.
- Lions & Their Weight: Male lions weigh 190 kgs on average and females weigh 126 kgs. They require this power and weight to hunt larger game and defend their pride.
Lions have disappeared from 90% of their historical range and African lion numbers have decreased dramatically by over 40% in last three generations. All the threats posed to lions are dramatically causing extinction. If certain measures are not taken in the right time to protect the species, it won’t be long before lions are completely wiped off from the face of the earth. That’s all for the lion facts for kids you need to know.