Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by jacob. jacob Wonders, “Why are lions considered ‘king of the jungle’?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, jacob!
They’re big. They’re fierce. They’re majestic, but they can also be a little scary. That’s right—today, we’re learning all about the kings of the jungle. The mighty lions!
However, some of our Wonder Friends have been asking . . . are lions really the kings of the jungle? According to experts, the answer is technically no. In fact, lions don’t even live in the jungle. Instead, you’ll find them in desert habitats.
Most lions live in Africa today. The nations of Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, and Tanzania are all home to lions. These giant cats can also be found in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. A small population also inhabits India.
Even if lions did live in the jungle, those who study these animals say it would be more accurate to call them the QUEENS of the jungle. Why? Well, in a pride of lions, it’s often the female cats who run the show.
The fact that lions live in groups sets them apart from other big cats. They’re much more than their feline cousins. Prides may range in size from three to 40 animals. However, the average number is about 13 adult lions living together.
Typically, the pride mostly consists of female lions. In fact, smaller groups may include only one adult male lion. The male cats’ main job in the pride is to protect its territory. A lion’s roar can travel as far as three miles (five kilometers), warning other prides and individual lions to keep their distance.
Despite their fierce roars, male lions are not the primary hunters in a pride. Instead, the female cats take on most of the responsibility for feeding the group. Most often, they hunt together at night to provide food for the pride, including the cubs and male lions.
In many cases, the female lions in a pride are all related. They share the responsibilities of raising their young, often even giving birth around the same time. They also defend their cubs against lions attacking their pride. Most female lions will live with the same group their entire lives. However, some leave to form their own prides elsewhere.
On the other hand, nearly all male lions leave the pride when they are around three years old. Most then live alone for some time—up to two years. Then, they enter a new pride as adults to help protect its territory and produce cubs.
Today, lions are considered a vulnerable species. Only around 20,000 of them live in the wild. However, efforts to protect these big cats have led to a recent increase in the population.
Have you ever seen a pride of lions in a zoo or nature reserve? If so, you know they can be fun to watch—from a distance, of course!
Standards: NGSS.LS1.B, NGSS.LS2.D, NGSS.LS4.C, NGSS.LS4.D, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.L.2, NCAS.A.1, NCAS.A.2, NCAS.A.3