Tap to inquire

Characteristics of Lions: Key Traits and Behaviors

Lions have incredible characteristics. Some of these characteristics include:

  • Running very fast: Cheetahs are known as the fastest carnivores in the world, reaching speeds of 70 mph. However, lions also run very fast, reaching bursts of 50 mph and leaping as far as 36 feet. Running at 50 miles per hour implies that humans can’t outcompete them. This species possesses strong muscles, a long body, and a large head, which creates stability, enabling them to run very fast. Lions use this ability to tire out their prey. They chase their prey while running after it until it loses energy and slows down, then the lion grabs the innocent animal and feasts on it.
  • Yellowish-gold in color: African lions have coats ranging from buff yellow, orange-brown, white-grey, to dark brown, with white around the mouth, chin, and inside the legs. They have yellow-gold coats and shaggy manes in males, ranging from blond to reddish-brown in color. The length of the mane is determined by age, genetics, and hormones. Lions use their light brown skin color to hide in tall grass, making them less visible to predators both day and night. They also use this advantage to hunt prey, as some animals cannot detect the presence of a lion. The young lions, known as cubs, are also light goldish in color and are often hidden in caves by their mothers. They have brown spots all over their bodies, which disappear with time as their manes grow in adulthood. There are rare white lions in South Africa that lack the brown pigment but have white and black manes. Their cubs look like white fur balls because of the whitish fur that covers their entire bodies, often with amber eyes, common in both humans and lions.
  • Cubs are born blind: Every lion begins life as a cub under the care of females, then grows into the vigorous lion that everyone admires. The young ones are technically born blind, unable to see even the bright sun for three to four days after birth. As cubs begin to eat, they are given soft food, and special care is provided when they first open their eyes, as their vision doesn’t stabilize right away. This delay is due to the blue or grey shade that covers their eyes, which eventually turns brown or amber at two to three months of age, depending on the cub’s genes. It’s a wonder that lions are born blind but later develop night vision, a miraculous gift.
  • Fear of humans: Lions are considered powerful but fear weak humans due to historical encounters. Lions understand the danger humans can pose. Although they fear humans, they can easily prey on them when humans are sick, injured, or old, as humans typically can’t defend themselves against lions unless they use a gun, which is not always readily available.
  • Highly territorial: Lions cherish their habitats, known as territories, as “East or west, home is best.” In each territory, there is a pride consisting of males, females, and cubs. The females hunt for the pride and are the rulers, but in most cases, the males fight for dominance. By nature, the male figure is supposed to be superior and highly respected. Unfortunately, males often kill young cubs, which is why females keep them hidden in caves until they are able to protect themselves. Lions in the same territory roar and hunt together, functioning as a family.
  • Extremely sharp claws and a big mouth: These mammals use their large mouths with teeth like incisors, canines, and molars to tear and shred prey. Their mouths can also taste smells in the air. Their sharp claws hold prey tightly until the struggling animal is weakened to death.

Positive feelings come with being honest with yourself and accepting your personality. This is true for lions; they know what they are, and they use their unique features to thrive in the wild.

How we work

To offer a more rewarding way to travel, we do stuff the right way; right from the planning process.

We pay attention

We will spend time and pay attention to your expectations, then propose an experience that you might like.

We complement

Next we will discuss our selected options, point out the best safaris for you and make awesome recommendations.

We hold your booking

We will tentatively hold your booking and make reservations while we talk through the safari details or make changes.

Speak to an expert to start planning your African safari holiday...

Give a call to one of our specialists or arrange a video meeting/session for awesome ideas and safari advice.

+256 787 23 0575
Eddie Safari Guide
Ronnie Safari Guide