Lion (Panthera leo) - Matusadonna National Park - Zimbabwe
The lion is the tallest (at the shoulder) of the felids, and is also the second-heaviest of the big cats after the tiger. With powerful legs, a strong jaw, and long canine teeth, the lion can bring down and kill large prey. The coloration of lions can vary from light buff to yellowish, reddish or dark brown. Lion cubs are born with brown rosettes (spots) on their body, similar to a leopard, but will fade as they reach adulthood. Lions are the only members of the cat family to display obvious sexual dimorphism—specifically, males and females look distinctly different. The lioness, lacks the thick mane, which is prominent in the males. The color of the male's mane can vary from blond to black, generally becoming darker as the lion grows older.
- © 1999 Gene G. Eckhart
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