Lions are the second largest cats after the tiger. Most are tawny in color; faint spots found on the young are occasionally kept into maturity.
Lions are the only sexually dimorphic cats, meaning the female and males differ in appearance. The males have thick mane around the head that extends down the chest between the forelegs; the mane can vary in color from yellow to black. There are a few populations that have very
thin or no manes; males who have been injured may also lose their manes.
Lions are the only cats with tufts at the end of their tails. They have massive shoulders and strong forelimbs, long sharp claws, and short powerful jaws. Their muscular build generates a lot of metabolic heat and they may pant just from walking across an open plain. Lions have nine distinct vocalizations, including roars and puffing (similar to chuffling in the tiger). Their roar can be heard by humans over five miles away.
They climb trees to avoid swarms of biting flies and escape herds of Cape buffalo. One group on a tiny isolated island in the Duba Plains of Botswana's Okavango Delta has specialized in hunting Cape buffalo and they swim through deep rivers to get to them.
Adult lions are mainly nocturnal and are the least active of the big cats, sleeping or resting about 20 hours a day. Both males and females mark their territories by roaring and scent marking. Lions give a flehmen response when they investigate scent marks or the reproductive state of lionesses.
These few pictures taken from central African forest park.
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