Family Life is Very Important to Lions

Family life is very important to lions. Of all the cats in the world, they are the only ones that live together in large family groups. Other cats, like leopards and tigers, live alone most of the time. But lions believe in togetherness. They raise their young together, and they hunt together.
A family of lions is called a pride. There are between 3 and 40 lions in a pride—and a typical pride includes a group of females, their young, and several males. The females are usually sisters or closely related, and they often stay with the same pride all of their lives. But the male lions usually stay with a pride for only a few years. Eventually, invading males try to take over the pride, and a battle takes place between the pride males and the invaders. The outcome is shown below.

The lions in a pride are usually very friendly with each other. Often, when they meet each other, they rub their heads together in a friendly greeting.

The main job of male lions is to protect the territory of the pride, the area in which the pride lives. From time to time, other males may enter the territory and challenge the lions that live there.

Often, a savage fight takes place between the pride males and the males from outside. Sometimes, they fight so violently that one or more of the males is seriously injured or even killed.

OUTSIDER CHALLENGES MALE IN PRIDE

If the pride lions win, they get to stay with the pride. If the lions from outside win, they take over the pride, and the defeated males have to go away.

NEW MALE JOINS PRIDE

DEFEATED MALE LEAVES

The loud roar of a lion has several uses. When they are hunting at night or can’t see each other during the day, the lions in a pride sometimes roar to keep in touch. Males often roar to chase away intruders into the pride’s territory.

Because they live so closely together, lions in a pride need good ways to communicate their emotions to each other. They have expressive faces to help them do it. Can you tell what emotions these lions are communicating?

AFRAID

ANNOYED

ANGRY

Male lions mostly watch for marauders and sleep. The females usually do the hunting. When the hunt is over, the males often drive the females away from the meat and take “the lion’s share” for themselves. The females and cubs eat the rest.