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Text: Mammals.
Photo: Lion, Panthera leo.
Lion, Panthera leo
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Where are they found? AfricaAsiaEurope

Map of the world.

Lions once lived in southern Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Today, however, they are confined mainly to the game reserves of Africa. A few live in the Gir Forest of India. This Indian subspecies is highly endangered: a single disease outbreak could wipe them all out.

An adult male lion can be 3.4 m (11 ft.) long including the tail, and weigh as much as 250 kg (550 lb.). The female is about 15 to 20% smaller, and lacks the male's heavy mane.

Most lions, except non-breeding males, live in groups known as prides, which usually include 6 to 30 members. One or two mature males, or occasionally more, will reside with each pride.

Typically, lions spend 20 to 21 hours per day resting. The remaining time is spent interacting socially (playing, nursing, mating, loafing, etcetera) and hunting.

Lions prey mostly on hoofed animals, although they occasionally consume fallen fruit and carrion. They hunt co-operatively and, while the females are better hunters and do most of the work bringing down the prey, the males eat first, followed by the females, and then the cubs. The initial charge of a hunting lion only lasts about 50 to 100 m (164 to 328 ft.). If the intended prey is quick enough to keep ahead of the predator for that distance, the lion will usually abandon the attempt.

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Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo. Photo: Lion, Panthera leo.

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“Lion”. [Online]. Natural History Notebooks. Canadian Museum of Nature.
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