Lions live in Africa south of the Sahara and in Northwest India.
Lions don't actually live in the jungle. Their real habitat is
the open savanna where they hunt mammals such as gazelles, antelope,
and zebra. They may also cooperate to catch larger mammals such
as buffalo, giraffes and even crocodiles. Lionesses, or female
lions, usually do most of the hunting. Sometimes they work together
to flush out prey. One lion will scare out prey towards the others
making it difficult to escape.
Lions live in groups called prides. These prides usually consist
of as many as 15 lionesses and their young, and 3 adult males.
An average lion's body is 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet long, and their
tails are 26 1/4 inches long to 3 1/4 feet. They can also grow
up to 3 1/2 feet high and can weigh up to 500 pounds.
So why are lions the kings of the jungle? Lions are the kings
of the jungle because of their raw power and strength. Lions fear
no other animals, however, like a king lions do have enemies.
The lion's worst enemy is the hyena.
Hyenas eat the same food as lions, so the lions and the hyenas
often come into conflict over food. The only other enemy the lions
have is people. Unfortunately the beautiful fur of a lion is very
valuable on black markets. Because of this the lion is in danger
of poachers, and because of poachers, the lion is an endangered
species. In fact humans are the only thing that lions have to
fear. Unfortunately these poachers don't care if these lions become
extinct, and extinct is forever. This means once lions are gone,
they will never come back.
Like a king, lions also maintain order. A king maintains order
by making laws and punishing those that don't abide. A lion maintains
a balance by killing some animals. If there no lions, herds of
antelope would overcrowd the savannas and destroy all the grass
resources. Everything impacts something.
Kings are the most powerful people or rulers of a land. Perhaps
this is why the lion is considered king, because it is control
of the land it lives on and all the other animals that live on
Hyenas, however, are not really controlled by or fear the lions,
but are a common enemy. It is sometimes said that if it wasn't
for the ugly looks and walk of the hyena, they would be considered
the kings of the jungle. On the other hand, the beauty and grace
of a lion makes it the perfect king.
Lions also rest about 20 hours a day. In a sense, they have the
life of kings. They eat, drink and sleep and do away with pests.
This is why lions are considered the kings of the jungle.
I once saw a documentary on lions. At the end of this documentary
a pride of lions was being attacked by a pack of hyenas. The hyenas
were attacking the cubs; the lionesses were doing their best to
keep the hyenas away, but the hyenas kept coming back. Unfortunately
there were no male lions in sight and there hadn't been in weeks.
In the last slip of the documentary, there is a lioness chasing
a hyena but can't catch up, when from out of nowhere there appears
a huge male lion, it's muscles bulging with strength from anger.
With each step it gracefully charges past the lioness and with
one strike to the right hind leg of the hyena, the hyena crashes
to the ground tumbling and rolling from the sudden loss of footing.
This is the act of a king, a king that was crossed the wrong way--a
creature in command.
Dickey, Norma H. (ed.). Funk and Wagnals Encyclopedia,
New York. p. 148.
Whitefield, Phillip (ed.) Macmillan Illustrated Animal Encyclopedia,
Macmillan Publishing Company, New York: 1984. p. 104