After a couple of weeks’ safari-ing down the ancestral line, it’s back to the old Africa album today.
Lions are the only truly social members of the cat family. Even so, pride living can be fraught with dangers. Mothers may be very protective of their cubs and charge any human who walks into their territory, but humans are not the main threat. Whenever a band of young males ousts a pride’s more elderly males, they usually kill any young cubs. The selfish gene is in action here, to say nothing of the biological imperative to reproduce. Without their cubs, the females quickly come into oestrus so the newcomers may sire cubs of their own, offspring in whom they are prepared to invest their protective and hunting capacities.
Unlike male lions, female lions tend to live out their lives in the pride they were born into, along with several female relatives. As soon as their male cubs reach two or three years old they are expelled from the pride to pursue a nomadic existence until they can take over another pride of unrelated lions.
The pride thus comprises kindred males unrelated to kindred females and they are highly territorial. Males scent mark, rubbing their manes on bushes and spraying them with urine and anal gland secretions. All pride members scratch trees depositing scent from glands between their toes. Male lions also choose locations where their roars may be amplified, against riverbanks for instance, making them sound larger and fiercer. There is nothing quite like a night-time roar for chilling the blood.
Hunting usually takes place at night, but also at dusk and dawn. The rest of the day, for up to 20 hours, they simply rest. Marshy areas with plenty of shade are popular lion resorts. They have astonishing capacities to ‘disappear’ themselves .
28 thoughts on “Mother Kind”
We watched a PBS Nature show about lions last month and I am continually fascinated by their behavior, especially the females.
They are truly amazing creatures.
Nature is amazing
Aren’t they wonderful, such lovely photos too. Fascinating their family dynamics
I agree about the family dynamics. V. interesting.
I came roaring through on seeing the email alert for this post, and yet, your blog still said I am not following. It’s true, I’m not lion. (I clicked follow, of course … again! )
If you don’t love me anymore just say. I can take a hint.
What’s going on with WP? So happy you keep defying their version of social distancing 🙂
Tis fate, Miss T. They will not keep us apart. We were destined to be together in the blogasphere!
The rotters. There are far too many cancel-entities being active across the ether just now. Anyway have now regained contact from my end, as it were.
Come to think of it, I’m not seeing your posts in the reader. Must go and investigate.
Hmm … mischief afoot, perchance?
I think that’s the default situation at present.
I just wanted an excuse to write ‘perchance’!
Perchance – it’s a good word 🙂
Oh yes, Tish. I have returned from Zambia and am in quarantine for two weeks. We had a maneater in Mfuwe, attacked a girl and killed a cyclist last month. Total of six fatalities. The paramount chief went on the radio to appeal for help.
Welcome home to random lockdown land!
So fascinating. Up to 20 hours rest during the day… wow.
Lots of digesting to do, I suppose. On some days anyway.
Aww, my little pussy cat wouldn’t know what to do with those guys. Fab photos, Tish 😉💕
Keep a low profile I should think. Can imagine lions being a bit snooty about puss-cats 🙂
On the other hand lions can be scaredy cats too.
Ellies can be pretty intimidating if you make them angry? 🙂 🙂
They can, and also lethal if they’re in a bad mood.
That was kinda interesting, Tish, as in “very kinda.” 🙂 And I’m not lion.
Thank you kindly, Janet 🙂
The little cub looks like he’s taking protecting his mom very seriously!
He’s definitely on the watch.
Lovely creatures – to follow from afar. Love their special social behaviour.