In our lions special Feature, we going to cover the, grooming, feeding,sleeping, mating, and pregnancy and birth of cubs.
The lion belong to genus Panthera , and species Panthera leo and family Felidae . The males are larger than females, and typically an adult male weighs around 240 kgs.
In Uganda they are found in Queen Elizabeth national Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (zoo Entebbe) and Kidepo Valley National Park. These are mainly savannah parks which provide the ions with a varied of ungulates for food. Lions hunt and feed on Kobs, Zebras, antelopes, buffaloes, and giraffe
Lions hunt early morning and late evening are back to resting for 20 to 16 hours a day, other activities include purring and grooming.
At four years of age lioness reach full maturity and are ready to reproduce. Lions do not mate at any specific time of year, and the females can go into estrous any time. As with other cats’ penises, the male lion’s penis has spines that point backward. During withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female’s vagina, which may cause ovulation. A lioness may mate with more than one male when she is in heat.
Pregnancy period is 110 days for the female to give birth to a litter of one to four cubs in a den (which may be a thicket) away from the rest of the pride. The cubs are left helpless while the mother goes hunting, staying relatively close to the thicket or den where the cubs are kept. The cubs weigh 1.5 kg at birth and are blind for the first week of their life. The female protects the cubs from predators by moving them from one den to another preventing the building up of sent that attract predators.
At eight weeks old the cubs are old enough to be integrated into the pride. Sometimes this introduction to pride life occurs earlier, however, particularly if other lionesses have given birth at about the same time. For instance, lionesses in a pride often synchronize their reproductive cycles and there is communal raising and suckling of the cubs who suckle indiscriminately from any or all of the nursing females in the pride. The synchronization of births also has an advantage in that the cubs end up being roughly the same size, and thus have an equal chance of survival, and older cubs do not dominate the suckling’s.