African Wildlife - Lion (Panthero Leo)
With the males reaching a mass of 180 - 230 kg and the females
a mass of 120-160 kg, the Lion is the largest carnivore in Africa.
Lions have a life expectancy of thirteen to fifteen years.
Being sociable animals, lions live in prides of up to thirty
members led by one dominant male. They will also hunt in groups
of two or more especially when the prey is a large one such as
Zebra. The lions will try and get as close as possible to the
prey before they go in for the kill. Stalking the prey with heads
low, legs bent and bodies tense to react they will strike only
when the prey is not looking in their direction. The lions will
generally rush at the pride and scatter it in a panic with other
lions cutting off one member from the rest of the pride.
The best positioned lion will surge forward and leap onto the
rump and shoulders of the chosen prey to throw it off balance.
The prey is then grabbed by the throat and strangled.
Lions usually start their feeding at the groin area of the prey
where the skin is soft. The skin is torn open and the intestines
exposed which are the first thing the lion eats. The male lions
will often push the females off the prey and only allow them to
feed once they have their fill. Only once the females are finished
will the cubs get their chance to feed. If their is still meat
left the lions will stay behind to guard the carcass from other
African Wildlife Paintings by South African Artist