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Lions - Panthera Leo.

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Unread post by Tabs » Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:28 pm

elpaco wrote:I have a question for you

when a lion eats, it gets blood all over the face.
I was wondering how he did manage to clean its fur afterwards.
I expect them not to like water (and soap :lol:) too much, so ???
do they rub on grass ?

rooibok is right - lions, like all cats, will clean themselves by licking their paws and washing their faces with them. I have also seen lions licking blood from each other - a form of allo-grooming which is part of the bonding process with some mammals.

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Unread post by Herman » Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:51 pm

Just returned from the Kruger and for the third time saw the same unusual animal - LIT - but before someone tells me I shouldn't post this under lions... in this case LIT refers to "Lion-in-Tree".
What I found interesting is that all three my sightings of lions in trees were in the same area - Vurhami, just north of Croc Bridge camp.
My first sighting was of two lionesses sleeping on a big, low branch.
That was in Dec 2002.
According to the day walk/ night drive ranger at that time, the lionesses had babies and she thought they wanted to get away from the cubs for a while and therefore climbed into the tree ?
During July 2003 we saw two sub adults on a night drive in that same area, playing and chasing one another.
They both jumped into a tree in their effort to escape the other.
Now for the third time have we seen a lion in a tree and again in the Vurhami area.
This time ( Tuesday 27th June) a lioness was again sleeping on a big, low branch in a tree just off the H4-2 bridge over the Vurhami river.
I know lions do sometimes climb into trees, but I find it unusual that I've seen them in trees on three occasions in this specific area.
Could it be an acquired skill that is passed on from one generation to the next in this area, or is it just coincidental that I've never seen it elsewhere?
Any suggestions ?

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Jul 04, 2005 6:14 am

Hi herman, I have also only had one LIT and that too was a lioness in a tree. A collared one nogal.

It too was seen with a big pride of about 13 individuals north of Croc Bridge in 2002.

Interesting!!! :wink:
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Unread post by fevertree » Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:10 am

It does appear to be a culturally acquired behaviour. There is a population of lions in the Serengeti in Tanzania that are known by their behaviour to regularly climb and sleep in trees. There it is thought that they do it to escape the attention of troublesome flies. This behaviour has been passed on from mothers to cubs and has become a distinctive " cultural" feature of this lion population.
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Unread post by acekam » Wed Jul 06, 2005 10:53 pm

In the UK on Channel 5 this evening, there was a program which showed home video footage of a guy in the Kruger about 5 years ago filming a large male lion which had separated from the pride with a female to mate. The lion was becoming increasingly irritated with the closeness of the vehicle, mock charging it once.
Soon after, it lost patience and launched itself at the vehicle - the engine was off, so the electric window didn't work.
Only the fact that the lion's head was larger than the window prevented the occupants from being mauled.
The video was taken by the guy in the car that was attacked.
In fairness, he was a genuine Kruger and animal lover and wasn't doing anything to purposefully agitate the lion, but he didn't read the signals that the lion was uncomfortable with the vehicle's proximity.

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Unread post by bwana » Sun Jul 31, 2005 7:11 pm

From what I understand/read is that lions generally move between prides of females within their territory. This way they spread their particular genetics widely. A book I have refers to a couple of prides dominated by two male brothers, location Botswana. They patrol a large area, mating and then staying with a particular pride of lioness and then moving on. Whilst these lions are on patrol nomadic males have access to their prides, with varying success, eventually leading to a territorial fight. So I wouldn't say the behaviour is geographical. They have fights over territory, and since theirs is already established it is usually younger upcoming males challenging them and not them challenging other lions for additional females.

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Unread post by Loams » Sun Jul 31, 2005 8:51 pm

That is correct, Pride males can have many female groups under their wing. A coalition of males move between their prides at regular intervals. Perhaps spend a week or two at each before moving on, not years, as they will then probably lose their females to other males.

I also am not sure how regularly a Lioness comes into oesterus, especially after having a litter, but I am very sure it is sooner than 3 years after giving birth.
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Unread post by mfb » Sun Jul 31, 2005 8:59 pm

Females typically will be in oestrous about every two years, except when a lioness has her cubs killed by a male that has just taken over her pride as this will bring her back into oestrous
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Unread post by Pilane » Mon Aug 01, 2005 6:42 pm

The average interval between birth and the next estrus is 530 days (Not before cubs are one and a half yrs old)

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Re: Lion behavior question

Unread post by Tabs » Mon Aug 01, 2005 9:50 pm

vkalia wrote:
One question thugh - our official Kgalagadi guide mentioned an interesting behavior about pride lions. It says that they stay with a particular group of lionesses tills the cubs are 2-3 yrs old (ie, old enough to look after themselves), and then move on to another pride. In the meantime, other wandering lions come and start mating with this group of lionesses. The stated reason for this is that the lionesses dont come into estrus for 3 yrs after having cubs, and by moving on, the lions maximize their chances of reproductive success.

I was always under the impression that once a male coalition takes over a pride, they stay till they are forced out. Behaviorally speaking, moving like this doesnt seem to maximize reproductive success, as it increases the chances of encountering other pride lions whose cubs have NOT reached adolescence.

What gives? A behavior trait specific to Kgalagadi lions, due to the particular conditions there?


It's always a shame when Guides get their facts a bit skewed - and I think this has happened here - I am not aware that the lions in the Kgalagadi behave any differently to lions anywhere else in Africa?

The males normally stay with a pride (or prides if there are more than one in their territory) for 2 - 3 years; usually they take over their first pride between the age of 5 and 7, until they are forced out by younger, stronger males.
Male lions in the wild only live to around 10 years of age, so by the time they have been with a pride for a couple of years they may be getting pretty old in lion years.

Lions defend their territories - and their prides - fiercely and there is not a lot of chance of 'wandering males' mating with the pride without a fight!
The attached male(s) are not only likely, in most cases, to hear the intruding males (as a lion's roar can be heard from up to 8km away) but may detect them through their scent marking and will rush to defend the pride.
The females will also put up a fight as the intruding male will attempt to kill all the cubs before trying to mate with the females.

The only chance that nomadic males would have of mating with a pride which already has attached males is if the attached males are too far away to detect their presence, which could happen in large sparsely populated areas where territories are larger, or if the attached male(s) are too old, weak, sick to successfully defend their pride in which case the incomers would then defeat them and take over the pride until they are, in turn, displaced.

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Unread post by Elsa » Mon Nov 21, 2005 8:57 pm

After watching several wildlife programmes it would also appear that lions prefer not to eat any hyenas that they happen to kill.

If this is correct, I would be interested to know if this is just certain prides in particular areas or the general trend overall.

I know there is very little "love lost" between the two species.

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Unread post by bucky » Tue Nov 22, 2005 9:16 am

Lions will kill any competing species they can get there paws on , its a case of survival of the fittest , and the less competition around , the better for them .
It isnt a case of them killing for food , and it happens in all areas , and with all prides.
This is why cheetah and wild dog tend to try and avoid areas highly populated with lions .

I suppose hyena get killed the most due to there involvement in kills with lions and similarity in "life styles" .
As a matter of interest , hyena are not always the ones trying to rob the lions of there kill and it is very often the other way around , with hyena being very succesfull hunters.

On the bush pig issue , maybe its because bush pig is a very rich tasting meat (Apparently) , also very hairy , so possibly doesnt go down to well as far as lions are concerned.
Why they relish warthogs but not bush pigs is a bit on the funny side as far as im concerned seing as they are quite similar species :?:

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Unread post by Salva » Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:26 pm

On my last visit to Kruger (november) when on a nightdrive from Letaba I learned something quite interesting about Kruger lions.

According to the guide there is a clear difference in size between lions in the south and center of the park and lions in the north of the park. This is prey related! In the north lions feed mainly on buffalo. it doesn' take speed to hunt them but strength. Northern lions have adapted by gaining strength and size but loosing speed over the course of history.

In the south and center it's the other way around. Because lions there feed mainly on zebra and wildebeest they are faster than their northern cousins but what they gained in speed they lost in size.

When asked for confirmation by me of this remarkable theory, the guide told that when they measure lions throughout the park this theory is indeed confirmed!
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Unread post by christo » Wed Jan 04, 2006 8:02 pm

According to the census, the lion population declined from 2000 tp 1500.

My guess would be bovine TB is taking its toll. (note guess, not fact).

I saw a 50/50 episode where they said (I am putting a lot of faith in my memory here, hope I am factually correct) lion males die at an earlier age and new ones take their place. Like normal they kill the cubs, but before next litter of cubs are old enough to fend for themselves, the male becomes weak with disease and a new male takes over, repeating the process.

Maybe Sanparks can enlighten us.
Last edited by christo on Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post by CurtisDillon » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:44 pm

christo wrote:According to the census, the lion population declined from 2000 tp 1500.

My guess would be bovine TB is taking its toll. (note guess, not fact).

Christo I tend to agree that BTB does have some type of an impact on the lion population.

They took 16 BTB positive lions in the south of the park and 16 BTB negative lions in the north to see what the effects of bovine BTB are in lions.
After four years apparently the report showed that of the 16 southern lions, 12 have died.

Five died of BTB and seven died either through being attacked by other lions or shot when they left the park, possibly as a result of the apparent disruption of the pride structure when the other individuals died of advanced bovine BTB.

In the north, eight of the original study lions are still alive.

I am sure though that there are other factors contributing to the decline of the lion population.
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