Lions are magnificent animals with strong bodies that rank second only to tigers in size. Known for their loud roars that can be heard up to five miles away, lions hunt in packs using teamwork to take down prey that are larger and faster than them.
Video footage showing a young girl kissing a lion at a zoo has gone viral, yet its significance lies deeper. The lesson this video imparts on viewers about dealing with wild animals should not be misconstrued as superficial entertainment alone.
Lions are omnivores
Lions are carnivores, yet they do consume some plant matter – most often from undigested stomach contents of prey animals they hunt. Furthermore, 10-50% of their diet comes from scavenging.
Lions utilize licking and nuzzling as a way to strengthen social bonds among their pride members, similar to primate allogrooming behavior. A male will lick other males as part of an attempt to establish their rank and status within their pride. This bonding behavior helps establish male rank amongst themselves similar to allogrooming among primates.
Lions are notoriously hungry creatures; they hunt animals even if they’re not hungry to satisfy their gluttonous natures and can consume up to 15% of their bodyweight at one sitting! When feasting on juicy prey like zebras or gazelles, other animals may arrive unexpectedly and distract the lion so as to take away its prize meal.
They hunt by stalking
Lions typically hunt by stalking prey until it comes close enough for an attack. As they don’t possess enough energy for long pursuits, lions rely on stalking and short bursts of speed in order to bring down prey. Their long tail serves as communication during group hunts.
Video footage of a young girl kissing a lion at a zoo has gone viral, yet it’s important to remember that even friendly-appearing wild animals should not be approached directly.
Lions live complex social lives composed of groups called prides. Each pride comprises two to twenty related females and their offspring, one male, and sometimes coalitions with other males to take over territory or prevent competing males from taking control over the population. Pride members may kill cubs of other prides to maintain dominance.
While lions don’t tend to like water much, they do possess an ability to swim. Lions using shallow waters for hunting prey may use them sneak up before pouncing and using swimming as travel mode to reach their destinations faster. Lions in warmer climates typically seek refuge in bodies of water such as rivers in order to cool themselves off more effectively.
However, lions do not traditionally swim as a form of socializing. Instead, they engage in behaviors similar to grooming among primates – such as licking each other. Furthermore, rubbing their heads against one another seems like another form of communication and may serve the same function as nuzzling in humans.
Lions may not be as adept swimmers as tigers, yet they still reach speeds up to 11 mph and travel great distances; these traits make lions considered faster than humans.
They are social animals
Lions are social animals that tend to form groups called prides that consist of related females and their offspring along with one or more resident males. Females typically remain with their mother’s pride while males leave to form coalitions in order to conquer new territories.
Researchers discovered that, despite an apparent hierarchy, lions interact in ways which seem affectionate – head rubbing and licking are among them – similar to allogrooming among primates, helping establish, maintain, and strengthen relationships among them.
African lion tamer Moataz Marwan recently went viral after posting a viral video featuring him stroking and kissing a large lion, which has amassed over 468,700 views on TikTok and won praise from animal rights supporters and animal lovers. Unfortunately, however, the footage may put its subject more vulnerable to attacks by rival males or even trophy hunters who could kill it outright.
They are dangerous
Lions can be very dangerous animals and should never be approached directly. If a lion approaches, try clapping your hands, shouting loudly, waving your arms wildly and waving your arms back and forth to make yourself appear bigger and dissuade it from charging at you. If driving, keep moving so as to evade being attacked by one.
The roar is used to communicate within prides, signal strength, and dissuade potential rivals. It can reach up to 114 decibels and be heard up to five miles away; the darker its mane indicates an older and stronger individual lion.
Lions groom each other to maintain and strengthen social bonds, grooming each other by licking each other’s heads and necks; males typically dominate this practice. When grooming occurs this way, this behavior may also include more obvious signals, such as growling or snarling from both parties involved.