Why is the Lion the King of the Jungle?
Being most majestic and fierce in appearance, most strong and conquering among the animals, the lion is the most widely acclaimed symbol and king of the animal kingdom. Living on savannas and grasslands of central and south Africa, the lion has long fascinated mankind, and inspired the greatest awe and respect among all the creatures of the animal kingdom.
Though slightly smaller than the Indian tiger in weight, the lion is nevertheless the tallest of the four big cats (lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard) and, moreover, has the loudest roar.
Male and female lions are easily distinguished as the male begins to grow a mane at about 10 months of age—a wild, fluffy growth of hair around the head and neck. The mane varies from very light to very dark. A darker mane indicates better health, virility, and apparently has more appeal for the female of the species. The lion’s mane makes him look larger than he really is—which is more intimidating in confrontation with his adversaries, such as the spotted hyena, but also in battles against other lions.
The lion is the only member of the big cat family that has a hairy tuft on the extremity of its long tail. Lions are very social animals, living in small groups called prides—usually made up of half a dozen to two dozen members—normally comprised of several related lionesses with their cubs, and a small number of adult male lions.
Males and females have specialized roles: the lion is a sort of “king” of the pride, defends his pride from enemies and competitors, and mates with all of the females. The lioness, being faster, lighter and more agile, is (for the most part) the designated hunter, the breadwinner. Several of the females usually hunt together, and thus more easily overpower their prey.
From: The Animal Kingdom