Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Lion

The lion is the largest member of the cat family.  The male weighs from 350 to 400 pounds. Some male lions can weigh as much as 500 pounds. The male lion is nine feet long from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail. They are 3 1/2 feet tall at the shoulders. The female lion is much smaller. They weigh only 250 to 300 pounds. Female lions are about one foot shorter than male lions.
     The male lion has a mane. A mane is a colorful with blond, brown, or black hair. The long, thick hair covers the lion's head, except the face, and the neck down to the shoulders and chest.   The lion's coat is a brownish yellow. Lion's have muscular shoulders and forelegs.
Habitat
     Lions live cool climates as well as in places with hot heat. They do not live in thick forests. Lions live in woodlands, grassy plains, and in areas with thorny scrub tree. They are found in Africa south of the Sahara and in the Gir Forest of India. Only about 200 lions are still living in the wild in Asia.
     Lions live in groups called prides. A pride has from 10 to 20 lions or as many as 35. The prides lives in a territory that is about 15 square miles to 100 square miles. A lion walks about 5 miles a day.
Food
     All members of the pride eat together. They like to eat fast running animals like deer, antelope, zebra, buffalo, and warthog. The lion can run only 35 miles per hour. This is slower than the animals it likes to eat. Because of this the lion must sneak up on its prey to catch it. When the prey is about 50 feet away the lion rushes forward and grabs the animal. The lion's jaws are so hinged it can open its mouth 11 inches and kill an antelope or zebra in one bite. Its front canine teeth are 2 1/2 inches long. They also have 30 teeth.
     Lions eat every 3 to 4 days. The male lion can eat 75 pounds of meat at one meal. When no large animals are around the lion will eat fish, turtles, and guinea fowl. If  hungry the lion may travel up to 15 miles in one day looking for food.
Young
     Lion cubs are born blind and helpless. They weigh only 3 pounds. The mother will move her cubs from one hiding place to another to keep the cubs safe. She carries her cubs in her mouth. A cub lives on its mother's milk until it is 2 months old. At this time the mother gives her cubs their first meat. At 18 to 24 months old a lion cub can hunt for itself. Lions live 20 t0 25 years.

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