Monday, 29 July 2013

How Do Lions Hunt?

First, as a wildlife journalist (lol) I must not fail to let you know that the scientific name for lion is Panthera leo...
Lions are truly one of the most captivating mammals on our planet. At one point, thousands of years ago, they ruled vast parts of our world. Lions were prevalent throughout areas of southern Asia, southern Europe, eastern and central India and over the whole of the African continent according to the Oakland Zoological Society. However, today lions are in a great deal of danger. Currently there are approximately 300 protected animals found in the Gir National Park of India and, of course, those in zoos around the world. Yet, the only remaining wild lions are found in Asia, and sub-Sahara Africa.

The Hunter's Physiology
Lions do indeed live up to their reputation as "king." At five or six, a lion is fully grown. Depending on the age and gender of a lion it can reach weights between 250 and 550 pounds. Currently it is estimated that lions can reach 14 years of age in the wild and live to be nearly 20 years old in captivity. One of the most unique and stunning features of lions is their manes. And while we use a lion's mane to distinguish its gender, there are other important features to this distinctive characteristic. A lion's mane helps to establish a males maturity and health. In fact, the general rule is the darker and thicker the mane, the healthier the lion.

The Lion's Hunting Techniques.
A lion is capable of hunting at the age of two, waoh! Lions most frequently hunt in large groups. Yet, the size of the prey determines the hunting technique. Hence, if lions are indeed hunting a large animal, they will work together. However, smaller prey is caught by single lions. Female lions do a majority of the hunting. And when hunting for large prey, they surround a herd and work together to isolate and kill a single animal. Thus, it is a highly organized operation. Lions are known for their speed which can reach nearly 40mph. However, they do not have high endurance levels. Hence, a lionesses kills must be well planned. When females are hunting in groups, they utilize their extreme stealth to stalk prey as closely as possible. Once they close in on a herd, it is then they chose the closest and easiest prey. Thus, their attack is a short burst of immense energy. And when prey is brought down, it is usually killed by strangulation as lionesses will bite the neck and snout area. Overall, lions are impressive creatures. And their sheer strength and power are constant indicators of why lions are "king of the jungle."
Source: eHow

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