Lions are also known as the King of the Jungle. Discover the captivating world of lions with these fascinating 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.
Let kids unleash their inner wildlife enthusiasts as they Learn more about these ferocious animals with these Lion Facts for Kids!
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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 cats 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 are one species of lion and two sub-species, the African Lion and 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.
Where Do Lions Live?
Lions are known as the jungle king, but they don’t live in jungles.
A 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.
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, elephants, and many species of birds.
A small population of lions also lives in the Gir Forest National Park in Western India.
What Do Lions Look Like?
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.
Lions have strong, powerful legs that help them run up to 36 mph. Lions can even make it up to 50 mph for short distances.
One of the easiest ways to tell female and male lions apart is from their mane. Males 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.
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.
Lions are social animals. As cubs, they will wrestle and play as adults lions 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.
They roar to declare a territory or show strength and to warn animals to stay away. Sometimes they will roar to call other lions. Sometimes a group of lions will roar together,
Unlike other cats, lions are social animals. Lions 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 that 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.
Both male and female lions will hunt. In the pride, the lioness will hunt, 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 also 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 members of the pride 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.
Lions sleep a lot. They can rest for up to 20 hours a day. Because lions live in such a hot climate, they must try not to overheat. As humans, we sweat to cool off our bodies. Lions do not sweat like humans, this is why they spend so much of their day resting. 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 play 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 its heat escapes its body well by the 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.
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 have 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.
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.
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 to 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.
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