The lion is one of the most social of all feline species. With a roar so loud that it can be heard 5 miles away and with a running speed of up to 50 mph, there's no wonder why this beautiful feline is considered to be the "King of the Jungle". The lion is just one of the four biggest cats in the Genus Pantera and also member of the family Felidae, the biological family of the cat. Tigers, Jaguars and Leopards are part of the Pantera. Male lions can reach a length of 10 feet and weigh between 300 to 500 pounds or more. The female weighs around 290 lbs. The male is recognized by its large Mane. The Mane is used for intimidation and starts to grow as early as 3.5 years of age. Darker manes are more likely to attract females. The darker and fuller the Mane, the healthier the male. The Mane protects the feline while fighting and is generally a light yellowish-brown colour. The female lion is called a lioness. The lioness does most of the hunting. They attack wildebeest, waterbuck, zebra, and sometimes giraffes. They will also feed on smaller animals such as hares, birds and reptiles. The male joins in once the prey has been killed.
A group of lions is called a "pride" because of their stately quality. A pride generally consists of fifteen to around thirty or more felines, mostly females that are related. The male marks its territory with urine within the pride. Lions also exist for more than two million years. They can be found mostly in Africa or the zoo. The lion population in Africa has been reduced by half since the early 1950's. Today, there are less than 20,000 in Africa. Male lions seldom live longer than 10 years in the wild because fighting with rival males greatly reduce their longevity.
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