As we know, many animals of the same species tend to live in groups. Like a group of ants is called a colony, deers in a herd, foxes a skulk, hippos a bloat, etc. Lions also tend to live in groups containing several individuals. But what is a group of lions called?
A group of lions is called a ‘Pride.’ A pride contains anywhere from 2 to 40 lions, including up to three or four males and a dozen or so females plus their cubs. But 13 is the average size of a pride.
The cubs born with the same pride tend to stay with the group as they age and the young males are eventually driven out to establish their own pride by taking over a group headed by another male.
In this article, I’ll explore what a pride of lions is, how it’s structured, and the roles each member plays in it. Let’s dive in to discover more!
Do Lions Always Live in Groups?
Lions are the only big cats that live in groups, called a pride. Other big cats, such as tigers and cheetahs, live alone.
The lion’s pride consists of a combination of related females, their cubs, and one or more males.
The male lion with the biggest mane is usually the pride leader. Males defend the pride’s territory while the females hunt and gather food for themselves and their cubs.
Prides usually remain together until one of the males is replaced by another male, at which point the ousted lion(s) will leave the pride and form their own.
How Lion Prides Are Structured
There can be two to forty members in a lion’s pride, 3 or 4 male lions and a dozen lionesses and cubs in it.
The Lionesses usually form the majority within the pride, and they collaborate to protect and raise their cubs while taking care of hunting.
Research done in Kruger National Park and Serengeti National Park suggests the average size of a lion pride is 13 lions. The composition of these prides were 1.7 adult males, 4.5 adult females, 3.8 subadults, and 2.8 juveniles.
Group of Male Lions
A group of male lions can be called a coalition. A lion coalition is when two or more male lions join together (up to seven), usually made up of brothers, half-brothers, cousins, or even non-related males.
These coalitions are formed for protection, as it’s difficult for young lions to hunt and defend themselves against stronger male lions.
The coalition works together to gain access to female prides, territory, and food resources.
While the pride is mainly led by a single alpha male, it’s common for young males that have been kicked out of their natal pride to join a coalition for protection.
Group of Female Lions
Unlike male lions, female lions, when staying together, are not called out by any specific name. A group of female lions is simply called “Pride,” like the general grouping of lions.
Female lions have been known to form strong bonds with each other that can last a lifetime.
They often work in unison, keeping a close eye on each other’s cubs so they can share the burden of parenting while they go out hunting.
These strong bonds also help female lions protect each other and their cubs from predators.
Female lions usually stay in one pride for most of their life, unlike males, who are forced out once they reach adulthood.
Why Lions Group Together?
Lions group together to increase their chances of survival in the wild.
Grouping together helps them stay protected against intruders and predators, like hyenas, typically the lion’s biggest enemy in the wild.
Forming groups also helps with hunting as they can work together and take down larger prey that would have been difficult for individuals to capture on their own.
The pride also provides a support system for the young cubs, with the females providing care and protection while they are still at an age vulnerable to predators.
Why Is A Pride Important?
Pride is important for lions because it allows them to hunt successfully. As the saying goes, “The more, the merrier” – The larger the pride, the better their chances of taking down prey.
A large pride also has more strategies available to confuse and corner its prey to capture it.
Once the hunt is successful, there is still a hierarchy in place that must be respected.
The alpha male or leader of the pride always gets the first pick of the meat, with the rest of the pride receiving their share afterward.
Who Is Responsible For Providing Food For The Pride?
In a pride, the alpha male, doesn’t hunt for food. Lionesses are mainly responsible for providing food for the entire pride.
They are smaller and more agile than male lions, so they can hunt down prey much faster.
The lionesses go out in groups and hunt down animals such as deer, antelopes, zebra, gazelles, etc. Once the prey is caught, it is returned to the pride and shared among its members.
Male lions, on the other hand, are mainly responsible for protecting pride from outside threats.
They seldom hunt down food themselves, but they play an important role in keeping intruders away.
When lionesses cannot successfully hunt down their prey, lions may also join in to help find food for their pride.
Do Prides Mark Their Territory?
A lion’s pride is not just about a group of lions living together. It’s like living in a community having its own kingdom and boundaries.
A pride of lions can have a territory ranging from 20 square km up to 400 square km, depending on the size of the pride.
Every member of the pride contributes to marking the pride’s territory. They wander around their area, and by spraying on different rocks and trees, they mark their territory.
This helps define its own space and let other prides know about it.
It also serves as a warning sign for any potential intruders of the pride’s domain.
Dangers To A Lion’s Pride
The biggest danger to a lion’s pride is the risk of losing its territory. As explained earlier, marking their territories is essential for survival, and ensures that their food sources remain secure.
If another pride were to come in and take over, this would mean fewer food sources which could lead to starvation within the original pride.
Additionally, if they cannot protect their territory, they can become vulnerable to other predators such as human hunters and hyenas.
This is why lions must always stay vigilant and defend their pride at all costs.
Their biggest strength in protecting the pride lies within its unity. It is well known that the pride of lions will always stand together to protect each other from danger.
This is why members of the pride need to maintain their unity, as this will help them in times of danger.
Final Thoughts On Groups Of Lions
Lion prides are an essential part of the ecosystem. They are apex predators in their respective areas and play an integral role in keeping the balance between prey and predator populations.
A male lion leads it, females hunt, and cubs play as well as learn how to survive in the wild.
All these things make it a complete example of teamwork, and the group of lions is simply amazing.
We must do our best to protect these amazing creatures and preserve their habitats so they can continue to thrive for generations to come.
With proper conservation efforts, we can keep this amazing species alive in their natural environment.
Do Lions Fight To The Death?
No, lions do not typically fight to the death. Although lion fights can be violent and aggressive, they usually end after one of the parties has proven its dominance by successfully asserting its position as alpha. In some cases, lionesses will fight to the death for their cubs, in order to protect them from dangers.
What Animals Are Dangerous To Lions?
A lion can be defeated by another species if it is large and strong enough. Examples of animals that could potentially defeat a lion include elephants, rhinos, and hippos. These animals are typically much larger than the average lion and are able to overpower them in physical combat.
What Are Lions Afraid Of?
Lions are mainly afraid of losing their territory to other lions or of humans hunting them. Female lions with cubs are also very protective and can be quite scared if they feel that their cubs are in danger. Like other animals, when lions feel threatened they can become even more aggressive.