Amazing Lion Facts for students

Fascinating Lion Facts for Kids

Lions are also known as the King of the Jungle. Discover the captivating world of lions with these fascinating lion facts for kids! From their majestic appearance to their powerful roars, lions are truly awe-inspiring creatures.

Learn about their habitats, social structures, and incredible hunting skills.

Perfect for young explorers and animal lovers, this article will ignite curiosity and provide a roar-some educational experience.

It’s time to unleash your wild side and learn about these ferocious cats with these Lion Facts for Kids! 

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Amazing Lion Facts for kids, lion cub, lioness, male lion

What is a Lion?

The lion is known as the “King of Beasts” or “King of the Jungle.”  There are also phrases such as “brave as a lion” or “strong as a lion.” Lions` have been the symbol of strength and bravery for thousands of years.

The scientific name for a lion is Panthera Leo.  They are part of the big cats family. Other big cat species include tigers, cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, and snow leopards.

Lions are the second-largest cat species in the entire world (tigers are number one).

There is one species of lion and two sub-species, the African Lion and the Asiatic Lion. African lions are native to Africa, and Asiatic lions are a small population native to India. African lions are bigger than Asiatic lions.

Lions are predatory carnivores.  This means that they hunt and kill animals to survive. Some of the animals lions eat include zebras, giraffes, rhinos, Hippos, Deer, and other herd animals.

A male is called a lion.  Female lions are called a lioness, and a baby is called a cub.

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Where Do Lions Live?

Lions are known as the jungle king, but they don’t live in jungles.

An African lion’s habitat is in the savanna. A savanna is a flat, grassy area with a small number of trees. Their habitats also include open woodlands and grasslands with plenty of water. African lions used to be found all over Africa today. They are mostly found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa is south of the Sahara Desert in Central Africa, East Africa, South Africa, and West Africa.

Around 4,000 wild lions live in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Serengeti National Park is a large wildlife preserve that is home to thousands of species, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebra, giraffes, hippos, hyenas, white rhinos, black rhinos, and many species of birds.

A small population of Asiatic lions live in the Gir Forest National Park in Western India.

What Do Lions Look Like?

A lion looks like a big fluffy cat with a golden fur coat. Lions have large golden brown eyes and black noses.

Lions are really large.  A full-grown male lion can weigh up to 560 pounds.  A female is smaller, weighing in at 300-350 pounds.

Male lions, on average, are 10 feet long, including their tail, and stand about 4ft tall.  Females are slightly smaller at 9 feet long.

A lion’s feet are called paws; lions have four paws with sharp claws.

Lions have strong, powerful legs that help them run up to 36 mph.  They can even make it up to 50 mph for short distances.

Lions have large mouths with 30 sharp teeth that they use for hunting. Their teeth are so sharp that they can break bones with a single bite.

One of the easiest ways to tell female and male lions apart is from their mane.  Male lions have manes, and females do not. 

A mane is the long, thick hair around the lion’s head.  A lion’s mane helps protect his head during fights.  Large manes can intimidate other lions. 

Lion laying on the ground
Lion

A male lion’s mane will start to grow at 18 months and will continue to grow as the lion grows.

Manes will often darken in color as the lion gets older.

Manes will help to protect the lion’s neck when they are in fights.

The lion’s coat is a golden brown color.  Their manes can be a variety of colors, including brown, reddish-brown, light brown, or even blonde or black.

Social Animals 

Lions are social animals.  As cubs, they will wrestle and play as adults; they continue to be social.

Lions communicate in many different ways. Members of pride will greet each other by rubbing their heads together.

Lions will mark their territory with their scent and urine.  They do this so other lions outside their pride know that this area is taken.

Male lions will also use their manes to communicate.  A lion’s mane is large, this is to say “I’m strong, I’m tough.”  to make sure everyone else around them knows this, a lion will sometimes strut back and forth, holding its head up high.

A lion will also communicate with its roar.

A Lion’s Roar

Lions have the loudest roar of any cat in the entire world. Their roar is so loud that it can be heard up to 5 miles away! Lions roar for many different reasons.

But why do they roar? Well, lions roar for all sorts of reasons! Sometimes it’s to say, ‘Hey, this is my turf, back off!’ Other times, it’s to show off their mighty strength or to tell other animals to keep their distance. And get this—sometimes they roar as a way to communicate with other lions!

Sometimes, a group of lions in a pride will roar together. They do this for different reasons. Sometimes, it’s to show that strength is the pride. Other times, it’s to deter threats from larger animal groups.

Lion Communication

Aside from roars, they’ve got a whole symphony of sounds! From gentle grunts to fierce growls, each noise has its own special meaning.

Lions are masters of body language! Just like when you wave hello or give a big hug, lions use their bodies to send messages, too. From playful tail wags to fierce facial expressions, they have a range of moves to express themselves.

But wait, there’s more! Lions are big fans of leaving secret messages all around their kingdom. How, you ask? Well, they have special scent glands in their paws and faces, and they use them to mark their territory with their unique lion perfume. It’s like leaving a ‘no trespassing’ sign for other lions!

The Pride

Unlike other cats, lions are social animals.  Lions are the only big cats that live in large groups; they live in groups called prides. 

A pride consists of about 15-25 lions, but they sometimes have up to 40 lions. 

Usually, 1-2 adult males, 12-15 lionesses, and cubs. The more males a pride has, the better the chance for survival. The males’ main duty is to protect their pride and their territory.

The lionesses are usually the ones who hunt and provide food for the pride.

When a male cub grows up, he will leave the pride, usually with his brothers.  Adult male lions will roam the land for a while, then find a territory or pride to claim as their own. When female cubs grow up, they stay in the pride.

cute lion cub

Hunters

Both male and female lions will hunt.  The lioness is the pride’s hunter, and the male lion’s job is to protect the pride.  Lions are predators and must hunt other animals to survive.

Lions eat large animals like zebras, wildebeests, and buffaloes. Sometimes, lions eat smaller animals like hares, birds, and reptiles. They even eat animals that are already dead, like carcasses. This is called scavenging.

Lionesses will often hunt in groups.  This is so they have a better chance of catching fast prey such as zebra.

A Lion will hunt at night.  Lions have an excellent sense of sight, smell, and hearing.  They use these senses to track down their prey.

Lions will sneak up on their prey and then attack.  They will catch prey by grabbing and pulling them down with their razor-sharp teeth.

Lion’s teeth were made for tearing into the skin of their prey and not so much for chewing.  A lion will often swallow big chunks of meat.  They have thick, coarse tongues that help remove the meat’s hair.

If there is a lot of food, all pride members will eat together.  Oftentimes, there isn’t enough food. When food is scarce, the adult male lions will eat first, then the females, and finally the cubs.  Some cubs have died from starving to death.

A lion will eat as much as he/she can in one meal.  Sometimes, eating up to 75 pounds at once. This is because lions do not eat every day.  It may be several days before he/she will eat again.

sleeping lion on rocks

Sleepy Lion

Lions sleep a lot.  They can sleep and rest for up to 20 hours a day.  Because lions live in such a hot climate, they must avoid overheating.  As humans, we sweat to cool off our bodies. Lions do not sweat like humans, so they spend so much of their day resting to keep cool.  Running around, playing, and jumping can cause a lion’s body to overheat, which is not good for a lion.

A lion will find a nice place to rest under a tree, in the shadow of another lion, behind a rock, or anywhere they can find shade.  A lion will often lay on its sides to cool off as heat escapes its body from their belly.

This is one of the reasons that lions hunt at night.  They will hunt at night when the temperatures drop and the hot sun goes in.

Cubs

Lion Cub
Lion Cub

When a mother lioness is ready to have her cubs, she will leave the pride to find a safe place to give birth and care for her cubs for a couple of weeks of their life. A mother lioness will give birth to a litter of 1-4 lion cubs every two years.

When a lion cub is born, it is blind, can barely crawl, and has light spots on its fur.  A new mother will only leave her cubs to get them food.  When she leaves her cub, she makes sure that she leaves them hidden. Cubs can be prey for hyenas, jackals, snakes, and leopards.

After about 12 weeks, lion cubs are now able to get around.  The mother lioness will lead her cubs back to her pride.

This is risky for the lioness because If the male members of the pride feel that they don’t belong, they will kill them.

If the members of the pride accept them, they will greet the new cubs.

Lion and cub
Lion and cub

Cubs will continue to follow their mother and learn new things.  They will learn hunting skills, such as how to sneak up on and capture prey.

Cubs will also play with other cubs in the pride. They will play-fight and pounce on one another.  Cubs have fun playing around.

When cubs are about one year old, they lose their baby teeth.  Their adult sharp teeth will grow in their place.  When their adult teeth come in, cubs will start to go out hunting with their mothers.

After cubs have practiced hunting and are strong enough to hunt alone, their mothers will stop bringing them food.  From this point on, cubs will have to go out and hunt on their own.

Predators

Adult lions have no predators that hunt them; however, lion cubs do. Hyenas hunt baby lion cubs. Hyneas will also try and steal a lion’s food.

Female lions live longer than males in the wild. Female lions live 14-15 years, and male lions live 10-12 years in the wild.

Facts about Lions for Kids

  • When a lion walks, its heels do not touch the ground.
  • We know that cats don’t like water; is this true for lions? Unlike other cats, lions actually like water and are great swimmers.
  • A lion has a long jump! In a single leap, that can travel as far as 35 ft.
  • We all know Simba from Disney’s Lion King. In Swahili (a language spoken in Africa), Simba means lion.
  • Wild lions live 12-15 years and 20-25 years in captivity. When animals live in captivity, they live in a zoo, farm, or nature preserve.
  • African lions are considered vulnerable on the endangered species list.
  • Lions are the laziest of all big cats; they will sleep up to 20 hours per day.
  • Cats are usually solitary animals, meaning they live alone. Lions are the only cats that live in groups.

Lion Coloring Pages

Click here to download the lion coloring page 1. Click here to download multiple Lion Coloring Page 2.

lion coloring page 1
lion coloring page

References

Lions by Ann o. Squire

Lions by Jennifer Zeiger

Lions by Tammy Gagne

Face to Face with Lions by Beverly and Dereck Joubert

Serengeti Discovery Chanel