Every Thing To Know About Lions

The lion (panthera leo) is one of Africa’s most well known animals. But they not only live in Africa, but in Asia, and once there was even a lion native to the Americas and Europe, though the American and European lions are now extinct. There are eight subspecies currently in existence, and I hope to give a little bit of background on each of them.

The Asiatic Lion

The Asiatic Lion (panthera leo persica) Living in prides in India, are the easiest to tell apart from the other seven subspecies. It is among the biggest of lion subspecies and has a mane that extends all the way down on to the stomach.

The Cape Lion

The cape lion (panthera leo melanochaita) is known by some as an invalid subspecies, as recent DNA testing suggests that it is not it’s own subspecies but it is a southernmost variation of the Transvaal lion.
It is extinct in the wild, though it survives in captivity.

The Transvaal Lion

The Transvaal lion or Southeast lion (panthera leo krugeri) can be found in
the parts of Africa from the edge of the Sahara Desert town to the tip of the continent . These lions are hard to distinguish from the
other subspecies.

The Barbary Lion

The Barbary lion (panthera leo leo) is a subspecies that is also extinct in the
wild, again due to over excessive hunting. They are probably the most rare
of all lion subspecies, it is also one of the largest. With weights of up to
440 lbs. for males. They once ranged from Morocco to Egypt. The last
wild Barbary lion was killed in Morocco, 1922.

The Katanga Lion

The Katanga lion (panthera leo bleyenberghi) can be found in some of the
southwestern countries of Africa; including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia,
and Botswana.

The West African Lion


The West African Lion (panthera leo senegalensis) is not as common as the
Katanga lion as it is only found from Senegal to Nigeria.

The Northeast Congo Lion


The Northeast Congo lion (panthera leo azandica) is found near the banks
of The Congo River, (fairly obvious isn’t it?) but not much else is known
about this subspecies.Prehistoric and/or Extinct Subspecies


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The American Lion

The American lion (panthera leo atrox) lived in large numbers from Alaska
to Peru until around 10,000 years ago. Some people thought it was not a
subspecies, but it’s own species, but science has proven it is simply an
ancient subspecies.

European Cave lions


Firstly there were two European Cave lions. The only difference is that
they existed at different times. The Early European Cave lion (panthera leo
fossilis) lived about 500,000 years ago and fossils have been found in only Italy and
Germany. It was a lot bigger than the African and Asiatic lions of today, it
even reached the size of the American lion, which is the largest of all
subspecies ever known. The European Cave Lion (panthera leo spelaea)
existed Europe and Asia till about 10,000 years ago. Few fossils of this
subspecies have ever been found, but is commonly found in cave paintings,
from these it has been found to have large ears, tufted tails, and perhaps even faint tiger-like stripes.

The East Siberian lion

The east Siberian lion (panthera leo vereshchagini) was found in Russia, Canada and the USA. It was slightly larger than the European Cave lion (panthera leo spelaea) and slightly smaller than the American lion (panthera leo atrox).

The Sri Lanka Lion


Nearly nothing is known about the Sri Lanka lion as only two teeth have been found. Due to fossilization on these teeth scientists have estimated that this subspecies went extinct approximately 39,000 years ago. For awhile it wasn’t positive if the Sri Lanka lion was its own subspecies, but due to testing on the teeth it was declared a subspecies in 1939

Important Note

There are other known types of lion, but not they have not been declared a subspecies due to the fact that they are too similar to another subspecies or are too different and are closer to an independent species to be an official subspecies, but I have listed these possible subspecies anyway.
The European lion (panthera leo europaea)
Panthera leo youngi (no common name exists)
Marozi lion (panthera leo maculatus) Diet & Hunting
Lions, though very powerful, do not have a lot of stamina. They can only run in short bursts (short for a big cat that is) and must surround the prey to some extent before going in for the kill, that is most likely the biggest reasons that lions hunt in groups. The cause of the prey’s death is usually strangulation of suffocation.
The diet of the lion consists of mainly red meats, and they prey mainly on zebra, impala and wildebeest. (I know that at least one pride is so large it can hunt elephants) They can kill other predators too (leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs) but rarely eat them.

Habitat of Lion


In Africa lions usually live in savannah-type area with scattered trees and a body of water close by. In India on the other hand, lions live in scrub forests, and occasionally found in areas that would probably make a good habitat for a Bengal tiger.

Communication of Lion


When resting a lion might rub heads with another, (this gesture seems to be a greeting) and social liking, which is thought to be a symbol of affection.
A lions vocalization includes roaring, mewing, snarling, purring, hissing, coughing, and even a woofing. A lions roar is very specific, usually starting with long roars and ending with shorter ones.

Hybrids & White Lions

The most common and most well known lion-big cat hybrid is Ligers and tigons. The liger, is a cross between a female tiger (a fae) and a male lion, where as a tigon is cross between a male tiger and a lioness. Male ligers and tigons have about a 50% chance they will grow a mane.
There is a hybrid known as a leopon which is a cross between a lion and a leopard, a jaglion which is a cross between a lion and a jaguar, and a lijagulep which is a cross between a female jagulep or lepjag (leopard crossed with a jaguar) and a male lion.

White lions are not an individual subspecies. They are only white due to a recessive gene that has been passed on by both parents. These animals are NOT albino, the pink of their noses and pads of their paws would not have the coloration if they were truly alino. This gene is very similar if not the same to the gene that creates the ghost tiger and is similar to the gene that causes a jaguar of leopard to be black.

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