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African Lion

African Lion

Common Name:
African Lion
Scientific Name:
Panthera leo
Gestation Period:
110 days
  • Grassland
  • Savanna
  • Shrubland
4 ft
5 ft - 8 ft
Life Span:
15 yrs
Number of Young:
425 lb

Did you know that lions may sleep up to 20 hours per day? Learn more about African Lions.

Care & Wellness:

Through training, lions voluntarily stand on scales for weights and open their mouths and present specific body parts for inspection by veterinarians.  They also accept vaccine injections and allow blood draws from their tail.


Lions, leopards, and other charismatic large carnivores are declining across Africa. The North Carolina Zoo works towards reversing these declines by equipping conservation staff on the ground with technology to more easily collect information on threats to large cats and other threatened wildlife. By streamlining data collection and reporting efforts in the savannas of southern and western Africa, the Zoo thereby enables protected area managers to make better informed decisions about how best to protect wildlife from illegal activities. You can read more about the Zoo’s work on wild lions and other large African carnivores below, under related resources.

  • Only cat that is social, living in "prides" made up of a dominant male, several females, and their offspring.
  • Males eat first after a kill, followed by the females and then offspring.
  • Mane on males make them look larger and protects their throat during an attack.
Endangered Status
  • Extinct in Wild (EW)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Not Evaluated (NE)
Fun Facts:
  • Males and females both roar, which is used to intimidate rivals, identify territory, and reunite a pride.
  • Only males have thick mane around the neck.
  • Can reach speeds of 50 MPH for very short bursts.
  • May sleep 20 hours per day.
African lioness, Mekita, resting on a rock