- Lions can have babies when they are two years old. They mate at all times of the year and have litters of two to five cubs.
- Lions are nearing the endangered list. They are currently listed as vulnerable by the World Wildlife Organization. Three-quarters of their population is in decline.
- Lions cubs are born with blue eyes just like domesticated house cats.
Lion babies! They’re born cute and cuddly and grow up into apex predators that rule savannas. Let’s dig into five facts about lion cubs and more importantly dive into five lion baby pictures when they’re at their most cute and cuddly.
1. Pregnancy, Gestation, and Litter Size
The gestation period of lions is in line with other big cats. While lion gestation periods are 110 days, other big cats are slightly shorter. For example, mountain lions’ gestation period is about 92 days, while cheetahs rarely exceed 95 days. Lions have about the same gestation period as tigers.
Still, the lion’s gestation period (110 days) is less than 40% of a human’s average gestation period (280 days).
2. Kenya’s Samburu National Park
A group of lions is called a pride, right? Well, normally that’s correct. But there is a single place on Earth where lions hunt alone and lion cubs must become independent at an extremely young age!
In Kenya’s Samburu National Park desert conditions make prey much more sparse. Lions have adapted to the habitat by living solitary lives instead of in large prides. In this environment, lions can’t stay babies for long! Lion cubs in Samuru can bring down small antelopes by the time they’re only three months old!
3. A Famous Pet
Believe it or not, a U.S. President once kept a pet that wasn’t a cat or a dog. Instead, he had two lion cubs!
Calvin Coolidge was President of the United States from 1923 to 1929. While president, the mayor of the South African city of Johannesburg gifted Coolidge a pair of twin lions. Now, you might think a lion name like “Simba” or “Scar” would fit a pet lion, but Coolidge went in the opposite direction.
He named his twin lions “Tax Reduction” and “Budget Bureau.” Let me assure you, Coolidge was not a lot of fun at parties. In addition to twin lions, Coolidge also kept a White House raccoon, a brown bear named Bruno, a wallaby that was moved to the National Zoo, a duiker (small antelope from Africa), and thirteen Pekin ducks.
Let’s just say the White House had different animals 100 years ago!
If you just want to keep looking at adorable pictures of baby lions, you can skip this fact. But if you continue reading, consider yourself warned!
80% of all lion cubs die before reaching two years of age. At that age, they become skilled enough hunters to become self-sufficient. Why is being a lion cub so tough?
For one, competition for food is tough. Another factor is that when a male lion becomes the alpha of the pride, they will kill lion cubs that are not their own and aged two years or younger. In total, male lions have it the roughest. Only about 1 in 8 (12%) will reach adulthood.
5. Blue Eyes
Lion babies have a much different appearance than older lions. For one, their eyes at birth are blue, but as they age their eye color will turn to brown.
Also, baby lions have “rosettes” or spots similar to a leopard. However, once the lion reaches adulthood the spots will fade away leaving a more uniform coat. While lion cubs on average weigh just 3 pounds and grow to reach in excess of 250 pounds (females are closer to 280 while males reach beyond 400 pounds), their appearance changes much more than growing.
- 13 Mind-Blowing Lion Facts! If you love lions as much as we do you will enjoy these fun facts.
- Lions vs Tigers – 5 Key Differences (And Who Would Win in a Fight) They both seem pretty tough to me. Perhaps the fight will end in a tie and a handshake.
- 7 Extinct Big Cats. Did you now that there are several big cats that have gone extinct? Check them out!
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Keith Jenkinson/Shutterstock.com
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