The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Lion

Afrikaans name: Leeu

Two male Lions in Kruger National Park

A magnificent male Lion

Photo © Steven Herbert

Panthera leo

Interesting facts about Lions

The lion is undoubtedly the 'king' of the Big 5 (let alone the jungle). It is a major attraction in many of South Africa's game reserves.

Male lions can weigh 250 kg. Females are smaller and weigh up to 180 kg. There is a record of a male lion weighing 313 kg being shot near Hectorspruit.

Lions can live for over 10 years in the wild but survive much longer in captivity. Injuries received while hunting and fighting between males has a big impact on their lifespan.

Male lions have a mane and apparently females tend to favour males with darker, fuller manes. The mane also makes the lion appear bigger and more intimidating when confronting other lions or enemies such as the Spotted Hyena.

Lions normally live in social groups called prides. A pride may consist of a few males, related females and their cubs. Lions do sometimes live singly or in pairs. A pride is very territorial and the job of the male is to defend and mark the territory.

A female lion is called a lioness. Lionesses do most of the hunting in the pride, normally working together to bring down their selected prey.

Lions hunt a range of species including Buffalo, Burchell's Zebra, wildebeest and many other antelope. They are mainly active at night.

Lion

Photo © Steven Herbert

Above - A male lion with a magnificent mane

Below - A lioness

Lion

Photo © Steven Herbert

References and further reading

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Published: 2011 - Page: 212

Wild Ways - 2nd Edition - Author: Peter Apps - Published: 2000 - Page: 74

Wild Issue 21 - Author: - Published: 2012 - Page: 58

Wild Issue 34 - Author: - Published: 2016 - Page: 30

Tracks and Tracking in Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2000 - Page: 86

The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 2011 - Page: 110

Southern African Wildlife - Author: Readers Digest - Published: 1989 - Page: 62

The Living Deserts of Southern Africa - 2nd edition - Author: Darry Lovegrove - Published: 2021 - Page: 103

South African Animals in the Wild - Author: Anthony Bannister - Published: 1985 - Page: 69

Signs of the Wild - 3rd Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1986 - Page: 97

Signs of the Wild - 5th Edition - Author: Clive Walker - Published: 1996 - Page: 92

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southe - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Published: 1991 - Page: 414

Readers Digest Illustrated Guide to Southern Africa - 4th edition - Author: - Published: 1986 - Page: 260

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 20

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 5

Questions and Answers - Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Deirdre Richards - Published: 1990 - Page: 11

Mammals of the Kruger and other National Parks - Author: The National Parks Board - Published: 1980 - Page: 20

Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Burger Cillie - Published: 1987 - Page: 51

Land Mammals of Southern Africa - A field guide - Author: Reay HN Smithers - Published: 1986 - Page: 100

Kruger National Park, Visitors Map 1996 - Author: - Published: 1996 - Page: 3

Kruger National Park Questions and Answers - Author: P.F. Fourie - Published: 1987 - Page: 221

go! - Issue 156 - Author: - Published: 2019 - Page: 27

Hit the Road - 2nd Edition - Author: MapStudio - Published: 2018 - Page: 146

Game Ranger in your Backpack - Author: Megan Emmett and Sean Pattrick - Published: 2013 - Page: 14

First Field Guide to Animal Tracks of Southern Africa - Author: Louis Liebenberg - Published: 2003 - Page: 38

Field Guide to the Mammals of the Kruger National Park - Author: U. de V. Pienaar et al. - Published: 1987 - Page: 92

Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2001 - Page: 158

Field Guide to the Larger Mammals of Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1997 - Page: 276

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Published: 2004 - Page: 144

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Published: 1987 - Page: 32

Chris and Tilde Stuarts Field Guide to the Mammals of Southern Africa - 1st Edit - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 1988 - Page: 158

An Introduction to the Larger Mammals of Southern Africa - Author: Joanna Dalton - Published: 1987 - Page: 128

African Wildlife - A photographic safari - Author: Nigel and Wendy Dennis - Published: 1999 - Page: 16

Africas Big Cats and Other Carnivores - Author: Nigel Dennis - Published: 2001 - Page: 8

A Field Guide to the Tracks & Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - 3rd - Author: Chris and Tilde Stuart - Published: 2000 - Page: 18


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List of South African Mammals

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