Big cats are some of the most successful predators on the planet, and the African lion has to be the king of them all. Or perhaps we should say queen, as in lion family groups (or prides) females do most of the hunting. The lion is the only cat to form close-knit, long-term social groups of this kind and young are often raised communally, suckling from a number of different females.
A male lion is easily distinguishable by his thick mane of hair round the face and neck, which varies in colour and size from male to male. The mane is used to protect the lion’s neck during fights and also helps to make him look bigger and more dominant to attract females.
Male lions are also famously thought of as lazy. In the wild, and indeed here at Blair Drummond, they are often to be found lazing on their backs with legs splayed in the air. They can spend between 16 and 20 hours of the day asleep! However, male lions do more than just lie about. They are in charge of patrolling their territory and protecting the pride.
Conservation status | Vulnerable
25 years in captivity, 15 years in the wild