The term “King of the Jungle” may not be new to you. But of all the animals living in the wild, you probably are wondering what’s with a male lion, a member of the cat family, for it to be deemed as the superior specie in the jungle. What makes it stand out among its cat cousins like tigers, jaguars, and leopards? With a height of only up to 3 ½ feet and length reaching up to 6 ½ feet, what makes this jungle cat so special?
Well, first of all, you have to take into consideration the appearance. Unlike its cat cousins, or almost any other animal for that matter, male lions are easily distinguishable from a female lion. Without looking at the genitalia, you cannot tell the difference between a female tiger to a male tiger if you are looking at them from a distance. Same goes with the jaguars, leopards, elephants, hyenas, zebras, giraffes, and many more. Some people cannot even distinguish a female lion from a tiger, being similar in its facial features. However, this cannot be said the same about a lion. Lions support a mane which is very prominent and gives that royal look, which makes them stand out; a true characteristic of a king.
In a pride, which is the term used to refer to a group of lions, the alpha male commands respect among its pride members. In turn, it provides security and leads the pack. In a kingdom, it is very unlikely for a king to go to the market to buy food. The same principle holds true in a pride. Lions stay on the sideline when it comes to hunting. He lets his lionesses do all the work. Overall, cats are known to be stealth hunters. They would silently creep in to shorten their distance to their prey, and then they would rely on their speed and agility to capture their prize. Lionesses are slightly different. They are tactical in nature. If they know they cannot take down their prey one on one, they rely on numbers. If the prey is much faster than them, they rely on strategy. One lioness would attempt to lead the prey to where the other lionesses are already waiting.
A pride may consist of up to 15 lionesses and their cubs, plus 3 lions. Just like any other kingdom, there is also succession in a pride. Lions grow old and lose their strength; hence they lose their command or control over their territory. Before the alpha male totally grows weak, the strongest among the younger lions are expected to take the crown. These cats are also not known to hide themselves. Lions live in the open. They are not like other animals that scamper at the sight of other herds or even humans. They make sure they maintain control over their territory.
Lastly, lions can let out a loud, hair-raising roar that can be heard from miles away. Also, they are known to be inactive for about 20 hours a day. Resting for almost the entire day and have your lionesses bring you food, a true king indeed.