How Much Do Lions Weigh? Chart by Age and Gender

Written by Chanel Coetzee
Updated: May 15, 2023
Share on:


While not quite the king of the jungle, the lion does rule the open plains, savannahs, grasslands, and deserts of sub-Saharan Africa. They are the largest big cat species in Africa and live in prides for extra protection from the cruel wilderness they inhabit. Although lions are brave and powerful cats, many threats in their environment can endanger their cubs. Therefore, lions grow really fast to protect themselves against other lions, hyenas, leopards, and other potential threats. But how much do lions weigh at birth, adolescence, and adulthood?

Lion Weight By Age and Gender

Age and GenderWeight
Baby3 pounds
Adolescent (2 -3 years)200-225 pounds
Adult Female270 to 400 pounds
Adult Male330 to 570 pounds

How Much Do Baby Lions Weigh?

lion cub

How much do lion cubs weigh at birth? When they are born, lion cubs only weigh around 3 pounds.

©Robert Frashure/

There are very few things in life cuter than a lion cub. Those big brown eyes and round bellies are too adorable for words! Female lions are excellent breeders and give birth all year round once they reach sexual maturity between 3 to 4 years of age. Their gestation period lasts for around 110 to 120 days. Once lionesses are ready to give birth, they separate from the pride and find shelter in a den, like a cave or bushes. Females will keep their cubs hidden until they are old and strong enough to join the pride. When they are born, they only weigh around 3 pounds, and their eyes are closed. Their eyes only open between two to three weeks old. Therefore, these tiny cubs are vulnerable to attacks from snakes, birds of prey, hyenas, and male lions.

On average, lionesses have between two to three cubs per litter. However, they can have as many as six. As a result, females in a pride will give birth simultaneously and create a creche-like environment where they take turns to look after the little rascals. Lionesses typically wait until their cubs are six weeks old before letting them follow the pride. If they introduce them any earlier, the tiny cubs could get lost or be unable to keep up. Unfortunately, if nomad male lions succeed in taking over the pride by chasing away or killing the old male/males, they will kill all the cubs. They do this so the females will come into heat and they can produce their own offspring.

How Much Do Adolescent Lions Weigh?

Young male lion in natural ray of light

You can distinguish adolescent male lions from adults by their mohawks, as their manes are still growing.

©Bobby Vogt/

Lions between the ages of two to three are classified as adolescent lions. At this age, males are already larger than females. However, the average weight for both genders during this stage is between 200-225 pounds. You can distinguish them from their parents by size, and the males have a mohawk, not a full-blown mane. Females tend to stay within their pride unless unforeseen circumstances push them out. However, adolescent males are driven from their prides, forming coalitions with three to four brothers or cousins until they are big enough to challenge dominant males and take over their prides. As mentioned above, new males kill any cub who cannot get away to produce their own offspring.

Weight of an Adult Female Lion

This lioness scouts the landscape for prey from high up in an acacia tree in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

While males do join them on occasion, lionesses are smaller and quicker, and by hunting in groups, they have a higher success rate.

© Watson

Once lionesses reach three years of age, but how much do female lions weigh at this age? When they become adults, lionesses can weigh between 270-375 pounds. Females are the heart and soul of the pride. Not only do they care for the cubs, but they also do most of the hunting. While males do join them on occasion, lionesses are smaller and quicker, and by hunting in groups, they have a higher success rate. However, the male always gets to eat his fill first, and only once he is done can the lionesses and cubs tuck in. Primary prey includes:

How Much Do Adult Male Lions Weigh?

Three male lions fight

Once male lions reach three years old, they either leave or are forced out of the pride, where they live alone or in coalitions, usually consisting of brothers or cousins.


These majestic big cats demand respect with their muscular bodies, big manes, and powerful roars. But, by looking at them, the first thing that comes to mind is, how much do adult male lions weigh? These magnificent beasts weigh between 330 to 570 pounds when fully grown, but some individuals exceed 600 pounds! From the moment they are born, male lions live under constant threat. Their survival rate is much lower than female cubs, as only one in eight males make it to adulthood.

Once male lions reach three years old, they either leave or are forced out of the pride, where they live alone or in coalitions, usually consisting of brothers or cousins. Then, until approximately six years of age, they avoid dominant males while they practice their fighting skills and build strength. When they have enough experience, they begin to establish territories by marking and roaring. Next, young male lions will find a pride they want to conquer and challenge the dominant male. Sadly, many of these battles end in death, but some make it out alive and flee. While the dominant male has years of experience, the younger male is confident and strong. Therefore, there is a strange balance of power. Typically, young male lions lose the first battle, but they will often return to try again.

Male lions don’t usually help with hunting, except when there is bigger prey around. For example, there is a massive pride in Botswana that excel in hunting elephants. However, they need the male’s strength to bring this gigantic animal down.

The Biggest Lion On Record

While the average weight for lions is between 270 to 570 pounds, there are specimens that weigh over 600 pounds. For example, the biggest lion on record was shot in the Transvaal area of South Africa in 1936. This massive lion weighed a whopping 690 pounds, which is extremely uncommon for lions in the wild. Because of its large size, there are rumors it was a man-eater. In addition, this lion was often seen in areas where it could easily access residents. As a result, the community decided there was no option but to kill the lion. So, they enlisted the help of a notorious big cat hunter, Lennox Anderson, who managed to kill the beast. Sadly, there is not much more information on this massive lion, as this event was recorded so long ago.


Thanks to their power and size, Lions are on the top of the food chain in their environment. But, if that is not enough, these cats are smart enough to know there is power in numbers, and they are the only big cat species in Africa that live in prides. As a result, hunting in groups results in a much higher success rate, so their poor prey has no chance. But their size can be their downfall too. For example, lion cubs are so small their mothers have to hide them away until they are big enough to rejoin the pride. Furthermore, when adolescent male lions reach a certain size, they must leave their pride and fend for themselves. But, as they reach adulthood, their size helps them fight and survive.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

Share on:
About the Author

Chanel Coetzee is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily focusing on big cats, dogs, and travel. Chanel has been writing and researching about animals for over 10 years. She has also worked closely with big cats like lions, cheetahs, leopards, and tigers at a rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa since 2009. As a resident of Cape Town, South Africa, Chanel enjoys beach walks with her Stafford bull terrier and traveling off the beaten path.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.