Africa, Tanzania, Serengeti; Lions #2

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This is a short bit about males, it will be similar to the post from July 13. The previous post is about females and the pride this one will emphasize males but the overlapping roles and territories of the sexes make real separation difficult. The sexes are often together, many times they will hunt together and males and females both seem to enjoy family time with the kids. But the males have a job to do – guard the property. They keep other lions away and harass pesky animals like hyenas. The males, in most cases, have a heavy mane. This gives then a larger appearance and probably protects them from bites in territorial scrapes with other males. The grassland male lions have fuller manes that the lions of the wooded savannas.

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Males are always around a female in heat. One of the males dominates the breeding activities. But both sexes can be hanging around relaxing while romance is taking place. One reason that large groups of males are rare is that they all “desire” to breed and only the most dominant male gets that privilege. The next post will deal with lion sex more specifically.
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Males can be rather solitary. In many cases a consortium of two or three males (usually brothers or cousins from the same litter) will learn to hunt together and become specialists on a specific animal like African buffalo or Common Zebra. In some cases they will join the pride for a hunt on a regular basis. None of these behaviors is set in stone. As a group they are very malleable and no two prides behave or hunt exactly the same way.
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Big and lazy might suffice for male lions. They are also a less fastidious cat than many. They will clean up after a gory meal but are almost always adorned with flies, ticks, and other little creepy things.
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The males are fierce when they study something. The eyes take on a laser-like focus, seemingly disassociated from the rest of the animal, studying as they assess whatever it is that has drawn their attention. They react quickly and decisively. It isn’t easy to be on guard all the time.
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This lion has been chased from his territory by new males. He is pretty much doomed to wander from already claimed-land to already claimed-land until he is eventually killed or starves to death. A single male is at a disadvantage where ever he goes. The power and strength of a healthy male diminishes quickly as the defeated male slinks across the countryside.

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