The lion is a member of the cat family and is one of the big cats. Males are larger than females. The males have a big mane and that characteristic distinguishes them from the females but also from other cats.
The lions often live in prides, which consist of several adult males, females and their cubs.
Females usually hunt in groups. These animals are ruthless predators but can also scavenge their food if they have the chance. They don’t miss a carcass when they come across and are ready to fight for it with other animals.
Lions usually don’t consider humans as their prey, but there are cases of lions killing humans.
Lions live in savannas and grasslands. They are usually day hunters, but they could be active at twilight and at night as well. They live only in Sub-Saharan Africa and are seriously endangered, mostly because of the loss of their habitat and human threats.
Lions are one of the mostly praised animals throughout human culture. They are widely depicted on paintings and sculptures, lions are national symbols, they are presented on state emblems, etc. Paintings of lions more than 17.000 years old have been found in prehistoric caves.
It is estimated that these animals have evolved between 1 million to 800.000 years ago in Africa. The earliest found fossil of a lion was found in the United Kingdom and is around 680.000 years old.
According to the fossil remains, the first lions were gigantic in size. Lions roamed throughout Europe, Siberia, and Alaska. According to the fossils found, the cave lion lived also in Asia Minor and the Balkans. The modern lion most likely originated in Africa around 100.000 years ago.
Lions have fur which can vary in color from light beige, silvery grey, yellow-red or dark brown. Males are significantly larger than females. They have bigger heads with a big mane which covers their head, neck, shoulders and their chest. The mane begins to grow when they reach one year of age. Their mane color could vary but it darkens during their growth.
Darker and longer mane is a sign of more powerful lion males with a higher testosterone production. These lions also have longer reproductive lives. Females usually prefer the males with a darker mane.
It is considered that the mane serves to protect the male lions from attacks and fights with their rivals.
Lions are resting most of the day, usually about 20 hours. Their activity is usually at its peak after dusk. They spend a lot of time socializing, as well as grooming themselves. Usually they walk 2 hours per day and spend 50 minutes eating their meal.
Comparing to the other wild cats, lions are the most social ones. They live in groups called prides, together with their offspring. They are very restrictive and hostile towards outsiders. The pride often has 15 lions, and some prides have up to 30.
Females take care of their offspring until they reach two to three years of age.
Some lions live nomadic lifestyles, alone or in pair. Those are usually males which have been excluded from their pride. These nomads could become members of another pride again. Prides are usually hostile towards one another.
Males go through a nomadic phase before they become a part of a pride, which is usually between 3.5 to 7.3 years of age. The prides occupy a territory which is called the “pride area”. Males patrol their pride territory. They defend the pride along with the females.
Female and male lions come together only during mating. Dominant males mate much more than other male lions.
The pride takes care of their hunters’ health and they are the first ones to eat. These animals usually hunt in groups. Their prey is mainly mammals, such as zebra, wildebeest, the African buffalo, gemsbok, etc. The lion is considered a top predator.
It usually avoids very large prey, such as elephants, hippopotamuses, etc. and very small prey as well. Lions are also known to attack domestic animals.
Young lions begin hunting when they are around one year, and actively hunt at around two years. When they hunt in groups their success ratio is very high. That is usually done by female lion hunters. Males prefer to hunt alone.
Lions are not considered fast animals and they don’t have a lot of strength to run long distances. They run quickly only in short distances. They usually ambush their prey. Their attacks last short and they are very powerful. They kill their prey mostly by strangulating or covering the prey’s mouth and nose.
They eat mostly after the kill but sometimes they drag the prey and hide it. When there isn’t enough food, the young suffer the most. Adult lions usually eat 7 kg of meat daily, while adult females need around 5 kg.
These animals can eat up to 30 kg when there’s plenty of food, resting in between meals. When they have the chance, they scavenge on carcasses of dead animals.
These animals usually pay attention to vultures circling some area, which is an indication that there is an animal near death or already dead. Carrion represents a large part of a lion’s diet.
They often steal prey from other animals, such as hyenas. Sometimes the hyenas steal the lions’ prey. Hyenas are lions’ great enemies. They attack each other frequently, and food doesn’t have to be the reason.
Lions are hyenas’ main enemy. Lions often kill other animals’ offspring as well.
The lionesses give birth to one to four cubs after a 3.5 months pregnancy period. They are often alone during that period and hunt alone for the cubs. They move their cubs frequently to other dens to protect them from predators.
The lionesses go back to their pride usually after six to eight weeks after the birth. The lionesses of one pride often give birth to their offspring at the same time.
The males become mature when they are around three years old. At the age of around five, they begin to fight with other males to get their own pride.
Male lions begin to weaken around ten to fifteen years of age. When they are not strong enough to fight for their pride, they are thrown out of the pride by younger and stronger males.
The new males in the pride usually kill the cubs they find. They do that mostly so that the females could become fertile again.
The females defend their cubs, but they rarely succeed in defending them against stronger males. Cubs are also preyed upon by other predators, such as hyenas, wild dogs, or leopards. The sad fact is that around 80% of the cubs die before they reach two years of age.
Lions, both males and females could be evicted from their prides, in which case they become nomads. Females often remain with their birth pride, unless it becomes too big and the youngest females are forced to leave that territory
. In cases when a new male takes over a pride, grown up lions, males and females could also be evicted.
Both males and females are known to homosexually interact with one another. They are also known to be involved in group homosexual activities.
Lions don’t have many enemies. Their worst enemies are other lions or humans.
These animals could express very social behavior. They rub their heads which is considered a form of greeting. Males often rub other males, and females and cubs rub other females. They are also involved in social licking where one lion licks the head and neck of another lion.
Lions have various vocalizations, such as growling, meowing, roaring, purring, humming, etc. they are famous for their characteristic roar, which can be heard from a distance of 8 km. They usually roar at night.
Lions are one of the most powerful totem animals.
What does a Lion Symbolize?
If we ask what does a lion represent, we could think of a multitude of symbolisms to attribute to this magnificent animal.
This animal is a symbol of power, strength, honor, courage, leadership, dignity, loyalty, nobility, wisdom, passion, dominion, generosity, self – confidence, ferocity, territory, integrity, royalty, authority, bravery, justice, honesty, control, and protection.
Lions also symbolize caution and balance. they are also a symbol of protection, especially the protection of your loved ones and your home.
It also symbolizes perfect timing, cooperation and team as well as individual power.
Heart of a lion meaning
We often hear about someone who possesses the heart of a lion.
The phrase a heart of a lion usually symbolizes a person who is very courageous and fiercely faces all life’s difficulties and obstacles.
Lion tattoo meaning and symbolism
A lion tattoo is a favorite tattoo image by many tattoo lovers. The lion is considered the king among all animals. It is a symbol of vitality, courage, pride and strength. It was used as a symbol of power and deity throughout the history of civilization.
The lion tattoo symbolizes God, guardianship, authority, loyalty, royalty, the sun, love, the masculine principle, passion, power, justice, virility, life, expansion, and vitality.
In a tattoo, it could also represent someone’s zodiac sign.
Two lions on a tattoo are a symbol of life and harmonic relationships. Tattoos of lions depicted with flowers symbolize the balance between weakness and strength.
The lion tattoo could also represent the symbolic relationship between the sun and the earth, as well as the duality of nature and life.
The Meanings of Lion as a Spirit Animal
The lion totem can have many different meanings. Here are some of them:
Courage. Lions are very courageous animals. This totem animal teaches you of the gift of bravery and fiercely going after your goals and desires. It calls you to release all fears of failure.
Power and strength. Lions symbolize power and strength. As a totem animal, they teach you to trust in your inner strength to overcome any challenge you come across.
Dignity. Lions have a dignified demeanor. This totem animal teaches you to be dignified in all situations and circumstances and respect yourself.
Royalty. Lions and lionesses are considered royalty in the animal world. And that symbolism is well-deserved. They do have a royal demeanor, but other great characteristics as well. With the lion as your totem animal, you most likely have a royal attitude and appearance.
Protection. Lions are fiercely protective. This totem animal is teaching you the gift of protectiveness towards the ones you love and care about. If you have the lion as your spirit animal, you are most likely a caring and nurturing person who would do anything to protect your loved ones.
Territory. Lions are very territorial animals. They spend much of their time defending it. With this spirit animal as your totem you most likely have similar traits. You need to have your own space and you don’t like anyone invading it uninvited. There are not many people you decide to let in.
Leadership. The lion totem animal is giving you leadership qualities. You are most likely a born leader and you occupy such positions in society.
Lion as Your Totem Animal
People who have a lion as their totem animal are very dignified and independent. They are leader types, very confident about their abilities. They are very balanced and evoke respect in others. They could have a somewhat royal demeanor.
These people are very creative. They make great impression on others and are very influential.
They are powerful people who can create the lives they desire. They are honest and loyal. They would do anything for the people they care about. They are very protective of their friends and loved ones.
They could also be very controlling. If the lioness is your totem animal, you most likely have developed maternal instincts and you would do anything to defend your children.
You are also very proud and dominant. You oversee your own life and you are often able to organize and control others.
With this animal as your totem, you are very passionate and driven about everything you do in life. You always know exactly what you want and do everything to get it. You are not intimidated by obstacles because you overcome them with ease.
You are very righteous and often stand up for others who don’t possess your strength and confidence.
What if the Lion Appears in Your Life?
If the lion appears in your life, that might be a calling for you to gain strength and confidence and go after your goals. In some cases, this animal is asking you to help the ones in need and protect them.
When the lion appears in your life it could also be an announcement of a leadership role you will be forced to undertake soon. It might also announce doing something you will be proud of.
This animal could also be encouraging you to take some action or courageously confront some situation or people you are afraid of.
This totem animal in your life could also indicate the need to defend your private space soon. Maybe someone is invading it despite your warnings, so you will have to take some measures to stop this person from doing that.
When to call on Lion?
You should call on Lion as your spirit animal when:
- You need a boost of self – confidence;
- You need courage to confront someone or something;
- You need to be more dignified;
- You need to become more protective and nurturing towards someone;
- You need to become aware of your power and strength;
- You need help in overtaking a leadership role;
Dreams about Lion – Interpretation and Meaning
Dreams about lions are usually good signs. They indicate strength and power, as well as overcoming obstacles and difficulties you are facing. The dream about lions is encouraging you to face some of your fears.
It also asks you to realize your power and strength. This dream could also indicate suddenly realizing your powers and strength.
This dream could also be an encouragement to take some action and go after your desires. It could also indicate the need to establish control over your life or some circumstances. Maybe you need to take charge over some situation.
If the lion had attacked you, that could be a warning about your self-destructive behavior.
You might be overly aggressive towards others or doing something which is hurting your wellbeing. This dream is asking you to become aware of your behavior and change it or you will ruin the relationships with other people.
If the lion in your dream was black, the overall dream has a negative connotation and indicates misuse of power. A whit cat is a great dream symbol and signifies your power and dignity.