The lion is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa. Living in the grasslands, scrub, and open woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa, the lion is the second largest cat in the world.

Fast Facts about Lions

1. Lions can reach speeds of up to 81 kph (50 mph) but only in short bursts because of a lack of stamina.

2. A lion’s heels don’t touch the ground when it walks. It’s just like walking on tiptoe.

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3. The biggest difference between lions and other cats is that they are incredibly sociable animals that live together in family groups known as prides, other cats are solitary animals.

4. The roar of a lion can be heard from 8 kilometers (5.0 miles) away.

5. The African lion is 4.5 to 6.5 feet (1.4 to 2 meters) long from its head to its rump, and its tail measures from 26.25 to 39.5 inches (67 to 100 centimeters) long. The largest lion was recorded to be nearly 700 pounds and nearly 11 foot long.

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6. Most lions drink water daily if available, but can go four or five days without it. Lions in arid areas seem to obtain needed moisture from the stomach contents of their prey.

7. When males take over a pride, they usually kill the cubs. The females come into estrus and the new males sire other cubs.

8. When lions breed with tigers the resulting hybrids are known as ligers and tigons. There are also lion and leopard hybrids known as leopons and lion and jaguar hybrids known as jaglions.

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9. The females in the pride tend to do the majority of the hunting. They work as a group and use intelligent hunting tactics to catch prey which they would not be able to catch alone as they are faster than them.

10. The lifespan of a lion in the wild is 10-14 years. While in captivity they live for as long as 20-25 years old.