The Lion Facts OverView.
To their natural habitat in the wild is 1 meter away. A very flattering moment at Masai Mara Northern Conservancy.
This creature is incredibly heavily built unlike what you see from a distance or Photos and Videos from Natgeo.
If you haven`t yet set your eyes on the King of the jungle then, you need to at least do it before the end of life.
Every time I am in Masai Mara or any other park for that matter I have always gathered information from the local Masai people.
When we visit the Maasai Village and sometimes from the local tour guides from the community.
I am always inquisitive about Cats in General but in this post, I will focus on the lions. The facts about Lions that I have gathered so far and you probably did not know about.
Relationship Between Masai People and Lions.
The Masai people have a long history with the lions, I would say they are distant cousins from way back.
However, the Maasai people after circumcision were mandated to become real men to guard the community and one of the factors to prove they were ready was to kill a stray lion.
Why a stray lion? They had a good relationship but if any of the lions attacked their cattle or any one of them then they would be dispatched to clear the mess just like the C.I.A.
The first person to spear the lion was considered the hero and would be crowned the bravest of all.
The skin would be used to make cultural skin clothing and the crowned hero would keep Lion`s head to his Boma to show supremacy.
This was a brief history to show you how the Maasai are related to the lions, though that was way back then.
Today the Maa People and lions respect each other, a lion is very unlikely to attack when you have those Masai Shukas or when you are with a Masai guard in your company.
This is one of the reasons many lodges and camps in the national parks and reserves have the Masai guards in their facilities, during the day and especially at night. You will have them escort you to your room.
Now let us delve in and learn the facts I have gathered about lions during Bonfires interaction/ Stories at Night, during game drives and Maasai village visit.
The ´Simba´ Facts
13.) The Lion Facts About Paw.
The Hind leg of the lion has four claws but on the front legs have five. The fifth one (Declaw) is used or acts like the thumb for holding prey.
The measurement taken from the Paw can help tell the age or sex of the lion. They also told me; they sharpen their claws by scratching trees.
Have you ever visited a Maasai Village? They are built by women and the structure is in the form of a lion paw to show supremacy and relationship with the lions.
12.) The Cubs.
The cubs are born with blue eyes which later turn to amber and are generally spotty but fade as they age.
This is for camouflage purposes from potential predators. They are born blind and only start to see after four to five days after birth.
The spots fade after two to three months. They start to hunt on their own when they are two years.
11.) Lion Facts about Male Manes.
The lion male manes command dominance and power. The lionesses love them, I guess just like humans, females adore their men with beards.
Some of the lions have black manes this comes as a plus as the lionesses adore them more than their brown counterparts.
The older the lion the longer & Darker the Manes, this mane protects the lions during an attack or when they are fighting.
10.) Lion facts about Tongue.
If we could call it Sandpaper, that would be the perfect definition of the texture of the lion tongue.
Ole a professional guide at Northern Mara conservancy told me; the Tongue has spikes like if a lion licked the back of your hand.
The skin would come off with the second lick, it is that rough. The lions use it to squeeze out the meat in bones and for cleaning off dust from their skin.
9.) Lion Facts about Whiskers.
Every cat has whiskers from the domestic ones and lions are no exception. Ole, told us every lion has different whiskers from the other lions.
He gave us an example of a human fingerprint. Everyone has but they are all different so is the lion whiskers, researchers can tell; this is particular lion thanks to the whiskers.
8.) The Lion facts About Tail Tassel.
The lions of the cat family are the only one which has a black Tassel at the end of the tail. It is very significant to his daily life.
It is used to communicate to the other lions, a lioness leading her cubs uses it to give the direction of where they are going.
Ole gave us an example of an Army of soldiers doing an ambush in an Al-Shabaab Camp somewhere in Somalia.
The way they communicate with their hands, am sure you must have seen such in movies, lions use their black tassel during hunting.
Their leader gives directions where to position themselves for an attack. I wonder who could have copied who regards to this tactic.
Just like human leadership, sometimes a leader may decide to cling to power for a long time, especially here in Africa is no news.
Overthrowing the government is the only choice sometimes, so is in the lion`s world. If a territory is owned by a tough lion, other male lions may form a coalition of about three to four lions to fight the dominant lion.
Mostly it has a high chance that it will lead to an unfortunate death, so as to take over the territory. Ooh, and they kill his cubs too.
6.) Lionesses are more caring.
Did you know the male lions rarely takes care of their cubs? The only duty they have is to protect the cubs in case of an attack.
Otherwise, the lioness is the one to breastfeed and hunt food for them. No wonder the cubs can stay with their mother for a lifetime.
Back in 2002, there was a lioness that had adopted an oryx in Samburu National Reserve.
she protected the oryx but just a week later there was this lion that was salivating on the oryx all long and when the lioness was sleeping the lion did the unthinkable. He Killed the Oryx.
5.) The Lion Facts About their Eyes.
The lions have 3 times bigger eyes than us. These incredibly beautiful eyes have a clearer sight especially at night 8 times than us.
This is because a reflective coating helps the lion eyes to reflect the moonlight, hence clearer sight. This is one of the reasons they will prefer hunting at night as they have 60% success chances.
4.) The Lion Facts about Scent.
Since the eyes are not good at rolling, unlike humans. When they want to look at the other side, they turn the whole head.
Perhaps this is why they only sprint in a straight line, unlike their counterpart leopards and cheetahs.
The top lip of a lion has Jacobson`s organ which helps the lion with a strong sense of scent. Whenever you see a lion curl up the top lip and pull off a funny facial expression.
It is usually smelling or “Taste the Air”. It sticks out their tongue flashing out their long teeth. This is known as Fleshman Response, they will know if there is food around and if so, is it worth their time and energy to go for it.
3.) The lion Facts about Roar.
The female lions can roar but just like in humans Man`s voice is deeper except for special cases.
A lion Roar can be heard around 9 Kilometers away. The Roar is used to find other lions as well as marking and proclaiming territory.
The roar alone can tell other lions how strong is the lion roaring, deicing whether to take a fight or retreat.
2.) The Lion Share.
The lioness (the female lion) leads in hunting mostly at night as they have higher chances of hunting success.
After the successful hunt, the head of the family (The Male Lion) is the first to eat. I suppose that is where the saying ‘lion share’ came from.
Then after the king has taken his share, only then the female can eat and finally the cubs, fair? I do not think so, let my babies feed first.
1.) Lions under threat.
Scientist predicts that by 2050 lions may go extinct if these human negative trends continue. We only have 34,000 wild lions in Africa, with East Africa leading in Numbers.
One of the reasons tourist flock in Numbers. Just thirty years ago lions were 68,000. The main threat to lions is human and loss of territory.
It is said out of five cubs only two or one make it to adulthood. When a male weak lion is dethroned it barely survives out there alone. Trophy hunting is still going on in some weird countries.
If you knew more than three facts about lions, aah great we share the same liking and regards to nature, let us be the change.
The numbers of lions are decreasing rapidly every day and only you and I can make their habitant more friendly.
Always try where you can, be it funding the designated organizations, creating awareness or being their voice, Cecil one of the most famous Lions was killed by and such kinds of acts should come to an astounding end.
How do you kill such a beautiful majestic incredible creature just for fun? I am always against trophy hunting.
Can you even fathom a game drive without lions? Or a night in that camp or lodge to dawn without a lion roar?
I think it would be boring, let us take care of the ecosystem and let’s not disregard the biodiversity we have already lost more than enough we can not afford to lose more.
A Lion is Known as SIMBA in the Swahili Language
- French – Lionne
- Germany – Löne
- Italian – Leone
- Spanish – leòne