Renowned for its majesty and nicknamed “the king of the jungle,” the lion possesses both beauty and strength. Lions vary in color but typically sport light yellow-brown coats. Mature male lions are unique among big cats due the thick brown or black manes that encircle their necks and protect them while fighting.
Lions within a pride are often affectionate and, when resting, seem to enjoy good fellowship with lots of touching, head rubbing, licking and purring. The males are territorial, and will roar and use scent markings to establish their domains.
Lions consume a wide variety of prey, from wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and wild hogs to sometimes rhinos and hippos. They will also feed on smaller animals such as hares, birds and reptiles. Lions are also known to attack elephants when food is scarce.
Though lions used to live in most parts of Africa, they are now found only in the south Sahara desert and in parts of southern and eastern Africa. Historically, in addition to Africa, lions were found from Greece through the Middle East to northern India.