- Lions can sleep more than 20 hours a day.
- At 114 decibels, they roar louder than a football field and extend out to 5 miles away.
- They are the only social big cats in existence.
Lions are one of the most incredible animals on earth. Not only are they one of the largest predators in the world, but they also hunt in packs. We’ve compiled a list of the most exciting lion facts you can find. You’ll find out about everything from lions who survived plane crashes to why lions are louder than football fields. Let’s start with this list of 13 amazing lion facts!
1.) The largest lion that ever lived weighed 690 lbs!
The largest lion ever recorded weighed 690 pounds. It was filmed in South Africa in 1936. For perspective, the largest wolf that ever lived weighed “only” 175 pounds.
That’s still impressive compared to the average male lion weight of 330 to 570 pounds. (Liones, on the other hand, are much lighter, weighing between 270 and 400 pounds.)
Ancient lions may have been larger. Mountain lions, which became extinct about 11,000 years ago, weighed up to 1,153 pounds!
2.) Lions sleep over 20 hours a day!
You may like to sleep 8 or 9 hours a night, but lions sleep that much will not work. Hunting prey is energy-intensive, so lions sleep a lot between hunts to conserve energy.
In general, lions sleep about 20 to 21 hours a day! A species with few predators like lions has the luxury of sleeping more. Herbivores typically sleep less, as species like elephants and giraffes sleep only two hours a day in the wild.
3.) Lions, tigers and bears can turn into best friend!
File this under Heartwarming.
In 2001, after police raided a house in Atlanta, it was discovered that the crime boss had illegally kept a malnourished lion, tiger and bear cub. The three cubs were taken to Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary, where they recovered from poor care.
Here’s the amazing thing: These three top predators bonded during the experience and became lifelong “friends.” They lived in the same environment and maintained an uncanny bond until the deaths of Leo the Lion and Shere Khan the Tiger. Today, only the bear Baloo remains. He attended the funerals of two of his friends and will be buried next to them so the three can be together forever.
4.) The roar of a lion can be heard from 5 miles away!
Here’s a lion fact that’s sure to impress, with a lion’s roar reaching about 114 decibels! A big game in football averages around 111.2 decibels, which makes a lion’s roar louder than a crowded football field!
No other big cat can roar as loudly as a lion, and their roar can reach over 5 miles.
5.) The world’s most famous lion – the MGM Lion – survived a plane crash!
if you have ever seen James Bond movie, then you have seen the very characteristic MGM lion roar at the beginning of the movie. MGM trademarked the lion in 1916, and it’s been an iconic feature of the opening of their films ever since.
However, you may not know that the MGM Lion once survived a plane crash! In 1927, when tragedy struck, MGM was flying their lion mascot across the country to raise awareness. The flight carrying the lion crashed on a flight from San Diego to New York.
Amazingly, the MGM Lion survived the crash and survived for four days until rescued. During this time, it ate sandwiches and milk from the crashed plane. The lion, dubbed “Lucky Leo,” has survived a number of other accidents, including a sinking boat, an explosion at the MGM studio and multiple train wrecks.
6.) The entry fee to the London Zoo could be a cat or a dog…that would be fed to the lions
Personally, I prefer to pay $20 to enter the zoo, but those were different times!
Hundreds of years ago, if you lived in Europe, there was simply no way to see “exotic” animals like lions, except in usually poorly represented pictures. For this reason, when royals hunted rare animals from around the world, they held an important attraction. The Royal Zoological Gardens in London housed a variety of animals from all over the world.
in his book The Ark in the Park: A Zoo in the Nineteenth Centuryauthor Wilfried Blunt writes:
In the 18th century, the public could enter Tower Zoo for three and a halfpence, or by offering a cat or dog to feed the lions.
7.) Lions lost 94% of their habitat and over 90% of their population
5,000 years ago, lions roamed from northern Greece to eastern Europe, through Iran into India, and across all of Africa.
Today, lions have lost more than 94 percent of their historic range. They are left in a small population in a national park in India. In Africa, they are largely extinct in West and North Africa. The rest of the lion population lives in small pockets of South and East Africa.
Even more troubling, their decline continues.
- Between 1993 and 2014, ICUN estimates that the global lion population declined by 42%.
- In the early 1960s, an estimated 100,000 lions lived across Africa.
- In the early 20th century, estimates ranged from 200,000 to 1 million lions.
Today, the global lion population is estimated to be around 20,000. This means that lion populations have declined by between 90% and 98% since the early 20th century.
8.) Lions are big hunters but they have small hearts
Lions are one of the largest carnivores in the world, but they do have limitations. For example, their heart weighs only 1,175 grams, which is small for their size. Lions are not endurance hunters due to their smaller hearts and lungs. Instead, they rely on stealth and teamwork to surprise their prey. Lions run very fast — up to 50 miles per hour — but in short. This means lions need to get close to their prey before attacking, or forcing prey onto other lions waiting to pounce.
9.) Lions are the only big cats that live in groups
Look at other big cats and you’ll see lone hunters. Tigers, jaguars and leopards all hunt individually. Only lions live and hunt in social groups called prides.
Pride is mostly made up of women. A typical pride may have up to a dozen females and no more than three males, plus cubs. No proud male can form an alliance to hunt and live together. Which brings us to our next fact about lions…
10.) The League of Lions killed over 100 opponents and ruled an area 7 times the size of Manhattan!
As mentioned earlier, male lions without prides often form alliances to rule over large tracts of land. In 2006, the Lions Alliance was formed in the Sabi Sands area of South Africa’s Kruger National Park.
This alliance – known as the Mapogo Alliance – includes six male lions who rule over 170,000 acres. The lions were ruthless, killing over 100 rival lions and cubs and dominating 8 separate prides.As you can imagine, the league of lions is fragile And conflicts often arise. The Mapogo Alliance eventually split into two groups in 2010. These smaller groups were singled out by rival alliances, the last member of which died in 2012.
11.) Cub Practice Role Play
Once lions get old, they tend to sleep all day and conserve their energy. Young lions, however, are far more playful. Young lions will role play with each other, which is not just for fun but also helps them develop hunting skills. The lioness will watch this role play and determine if the cub is best suited to chase, approach or capture and kill prey on future hunts.
12.) Lions used to have the largest range of any mammal – except humans!
Scientists believe that more than 13,000 years ago, lions were the most widespread mammals other than humans. That’s because besides the only type of lion that survives today, there are two other species:
- Cave Lions: They lived on the European steppes, across most of modern Europe, Russia, and into Alaska.
- Cougar: Distributed in most parts of Canada.Modern America, and into Mexico
Both species died out between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago, along with megafauna like the woolly mammoth and woolly rhinoceros. In addition to these now-extinct species, many lion subgroups, such as the Barbary and Cape lions, occupied geographical ranges far beyond the range of lions today. Be sure to read our complete guide to lion types for background on all types of lions, past and present.
13.) Lions can wolf down meals
Most people eat about 2% of their body weight each day. Think how full you’d be eating a two-pound steak in one sitting!
Lions eat less than people, but when they do, they can canyon. Male lions can eat up to 70 pounds of food in one meal. This amount of food can be around 10% to 20% of their body weight!
|Largest lion ever weighed 690 pounds
|Lions sleep more than 20 hours a day
|They can make friends with bears and tigers
|A lion’s roar can exceed 5 miles
|MGM Lions survive plane crash
|Tourists have to pay for dogs or cats to see lions
|Lions have lost 94% of their habitat and 90% of their numbers
|Their hearts are small compared to their body size
|They are the only sociable big cats
|A group of men once ruled 7 times the size of Manhattan
|Lion cubs practice role play
|They once enjoyed the greatest range of any mammal other than humans
|They Can Lose 70 Pounds With One Meal
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.