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Lion: Panthera Leo

Weight and Height
males: wt 416 lb (189 kg), ht 48 in (120 cm)
females: wt 277 lb (126 kg), ht 44 in (110 cm)

Colour
Tawny with white underparts, occasionally with faint spots; black on tail, ear backs, and lips; Mane varies in color from blond to black.

General Locations
Sub-Saharan regions of Africa except for deserts and rainforest. Lions are generally found in habitats where medium-sized to large herbivores live. The lion is the most abundant predator in the savanna and plains ecosystems. The lion has been completely wiped out in North and South Africa where it used to be quite abundant.

Habitat
Most savanna and plains habitats are suitable for lions, especially those with a large variety of other animals. In best conditions, habitats will carry around 1 lion per 3 sq. mi (12/100 sq. km). In low density areas however, there will be one 1 lion/50 to 100 sq. mi. Larger lions will take on buffaloes and even bull giraffes. However, most lions will prey on rodents, birds, turtles, lizards, fish and ostrich eggs.

Activity
Lions are mostly nocturnal, but can also be considered diurnal. Lions will spend 20 hours out of 24 sleeping or resting as a way to conserve energy. Lions become quite active in the afternoon, but do not actually begin hunting until late in the evening and then hunt late in the night– they will find a place to sleep several hours after daybreak.

Social Systems
Prides of lions are generally composed of related females which all share a traditional home range. Typical home ranges vary in size from 8 to over 124 sq. mi (20-400 sq. km). Typical prides contain around 13 lions, large prides can contain as many as 40 lions, while some prides will have a few as two members. Male coalitions: In these groups it is advantageous for a lion to be quite large and to have a spectacular mane. These factors will improve his chance of holding territory. In areas were lions are quite abundant, the chances of a single lion without any territory mating are quite slim. Coalitions of over 4 lions are quite rare so in most cases lions have no trouble finding females to mate with.

Reproduction
There are typically 3 cubs per litter and the gestation period is 14 to 15 weeks. Females will reproduce at 20 to 30-month intervals. Mating is year-round for lions, however the mating and birth peaks are synchronized within prides. Females mature by the age of 4 and males by the age of 5.