Lion Facts | Panthera Leo

The lion (Panthera leo) is a majestic and iconic large cat of Panthera, revered for its powerful presence and rich cultural significance. This regal species is native to Africa’s vast savannas, grasslands, scrub forests, and the Gir Forest of India. Renowned as the “king of the jungle,” the lion is an apex predator with a distinctive appearance and a vital role in maintaining the ecological balance of its habitat.


The lion is characterized by its muscular, broad-chested body, strong legs, and a short, rounded head. Males are distinguished by their impressive manes, which range from blond to black and symbolize strength and dominance. These social felines are known for their majestic roars, which resonate across the plains and serve as a means of communication and territorial assertion.


The lion’s robust build, tawny fur, and imposing mane set it apart from other big cats. The mane of the male lion is a defining feature, with its size and coloration varying among individuals and subspecies. Lionesses are recognized for their agility and hunting prowess, displaying a leaner physique than their male counterparts.


Lions primarily inhabit the sub-Saharan regions of Africa, including countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. In India, the last remaining population of wild Asiatic lions is found in the Gir Forest of Gujarat. Historically, lions had a much wider distribution, but their range has significantly diminished due to habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict.

Habitat Preferences: 

Lions are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of habitats, including savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands. These ecosystems provide the necessary cover for hunting, as well as access to water sources essential for their survival. The lion’s presence is indicative of a balanced and healthy ecosystem, as their predatory role regulates herbivore populations, preventing overgrazing and maintaining biodiversity.

As a conservation scientist and advocate for wildlife preservation, it is imperative to recognize the lion’s cultural, ecological, and conservation significance. Efforts to safeguard their habitats, mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and combat poaching are crucial for ensuring the continued existence of this iconic species for generations to come.

  1. Nearly all wild lions live in Africa, but one small population exists elsewhere (source: WWF-UK)
  2. Male lions can weigh 30 stone (source: WWF-UK)
  3. African lion numbers have plummeted by over 40% in the last three generations, largely as a result of habitat loss and conflicts with humans (source: PBS)
  4. The scientific name for lion is Panthera Leo (source: WWF)
  5. Female lions grow to lengths of 9 feet (2.7 meters) and weigh between 265 and 395 pounds (source: Smithsonian’s National Zoo)
  6. Lions inhabit a wide range of habitats including savannas, shrublands, and grassy plains (source: WWF)
  7. The lion is a large, powerfully built cat that is second in size only to the tiger (source: Britannica)
  8. The average weight of a male lion is between 242 – 599 pounds (source: WWF)
  9. The length of a lion can range from 53 – 98 inches (source: WWF)
  10. Lions start off spotty as cubs (source: WWF-UK)

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