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Saturday, 23 January 2016


10,000 years ago Lions were the second most widespread land mammal, after humans. They existed across Africa, Eurasia and America.

The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament recounts how Daniel was raised to high office by his royal master Darius the Mede, the King of Babylon. However, jealous rivals trick Darius into issuing a decree which condemns Daniel to death. Hoping for Daniel's deliverance, but unable to save him, the king has him cast into the pit of lions. Surrounded by the big cats in the den, God sends an angel to close their jaws and save Daniel. From this story comes the phrase "The lion's den" meaning a undemanding, intimidating or unpleasant place or situation.

Painting by Briton Rivière in the Manchester Art Gallery

In Roman times, lions inhabited Syria, Arabia, and Southeastern Europe; still earlier, they roamed through Western Europe.

The Greek text Physiologus described the lion as the King of Beasts - inspiring medieval heraldry.

The theologian and historian Saint Jerome kept a pet lion which he left to guard his donkey.

The Chinese, during the reign of Kublai Khan, used lions on hunting expeditions. They trained the big cats to pursue and drag down massive animals – from wild bulls to bears – and to stay with the kill until the hunter arrived.

When a lioness called Elizabeth passed away in the Royal menagerie at the Tower of London during Queen Elizabeth I’s final illness in 1603, it was seen as an omen that the Queen would also die.

An African lion was exhibited in the American colonies for the first time on November 26, 1716. Sea captain and merchant Arthur Savage displayed the exotic animal at his Boston home where a hand painted sign declared, "The lion King of beasts is to be seen here."

A lioness died of old age in the Royal menagerie at the Tower of London on September 4, 1733. She had produced a litter of cubs every year for several years. A special post of Keeper of the Lion Office had been created for a Mr Martin. the man who looked after her.

Leo the MGM Lion, first roared for the debut of the movie White Shadows of the South Seas on July 31, 1928. It was MGM’s first talking picture.

The lions used for MGM's logo over the years were named Slats, Jackie, Tanner, George, and Leo.

CS Lewis’ great lion in his Narnia books is named Aslan after the Turkish or Mongolian word for "lion."

Once, having suffered a nightmare in which he was chased by an angry lion, King Farouk of Egypt (1920-65) went to Cairo Zoo and shot all the lions in their cages.

During the filming of the 1972 movie, Tarzan and the Brown Prince, the actor Steve Sipek was tied down in a scene, when some spilled fuel began a blaze that panicked the film crew. The lion in the film who had been trained to remove Sipeks' bonds freed him and dragged him to safety. Sipek then adopted the lion out of gratitude, and started an animal sanctuary in Florida.

The lion cub which appears in Disney’s Lion King animated movie is named Simba after the Swahili word for lion.

Between 1987- 2017, the number of lions in Africa halved to 34,000.


An average male lion weighs about 500 pounds and grows to 8ft in length.

Lions are the second largest big cat species in the world (behind tigers).

No two lions have the same whisker pattern.

If a male lion is neutered it's mane will fall out.

Lions can get hairballs the size of footballs.

The phrase 'lick into shape' is derived from a tradition that lion cubs are born shapeless, remaining so until the mother licks them into shape.


Lions are very social compared to other cat species, often living in prides (a group of lions) that feature females, offspring and a few adult males. A pride usually consists of 10 or 15 animals.

Although the lion is called "king of the jungle" they live on plains and grassland, not in jungles.

A lion's roar can be heard from five miles (eight kms) away.

Lion’s can’t roar until the age of two.

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.

Lions eat 18 pounds of meat a day.

Mountain Lions will bury and leave their prey, then return to it when they are hungry.


Most lions found in the wild live in southern and eastern parts of Africa.

The country with most lions is Tanzania, a long way ahead of Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Lions in the wild live for around 12 years. They live up to 25 years in captivity.

African lion

Only about one in eight male lions make it to adulthood.

Scientists estimate that, while there were around 100,000 lions in the world in the early 1990s, only 30,000 exist today.

There are more statues of lions in the world than there are real wild lions.

Source Daily Express

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