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I did a lion page (Africa; Lions The Big Cat) back in mid-July but think that three (four actually but one page will be on the serval, cheetah, and leopard) more are needed. Everyone who goes on safari wants to see lions. The image of the King of The Beasts or The Lord of the Jungle permeate western cultures. The greatest of the hunters, the strongest of the African cats, and the most social feline in the world all work together to create this image and feed this desire. It matter little that they mostly just lie around with their entourage of flies and ticks. They sleep many many hours a day. After eating it is about all they do for 24-48 hours. Even when hungry they seem to rest a great deal. But the cats (lions, leopard, cheetah) draw the safari-goer onward and the thought of seeing them gets people out of bed at five a.m. to get a jump on daylight and to hopefully find a handsome pride of lions at a recent kill. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t.
This page will be on females; the pride. The next on the males (again), the third on lion sex, and the fourth on serval, cheetah, and leopard. The pride is the cluster of animals that harbors most of the lion group. It is a female group with youngsters and teenage kittens as well. The younger female may grow into the pride the post-puberty males will be sent packing; usually with a snarl and a bite on the rump. There are no fond, lingering, teary good-byes. The pride has a territory that is pretty stable. As long as there is a contingent of females that can hunt together successfully they will stay pretty much in the same area. The males will wander the perimeter of their territory which may or may not be coincidental with the pride. Sometimes there are several males working together and they can hold a large territory with more that one pride inside; other times it is one or two males with a single pride group. It varies and it changes.
Lions are large and solid. Males can weigh as much as 500 pounds and females maybe 100 pounds less. Including the tail they can be eight feet in length and stand almost 4′ at the shoulder. They are big. I mentioned “King of the Jungle” earlier and just want to mention that the term “jungle” is not ecological of biological. It just means a really thickly vegetated area. It is best used along tropical rivers where the riparian edges are nearly impenetrable. In Africa, especially East Africa, the term is pretty much meaningless. The lion is certainly the King of the Savanna and perhaps even the Monarch of the Wooded Savanna but where there is no jungle…well s/he can still be King/Queen of the Beasts.