|Distribution of lions in Africa|
The lion (Panthera leo) is a large mammal of the Felidae (cat) family, and is often called the "king of the beasts". Lions are mostly found in Africa and in a small reserve in India. They can live in cool areas, very hot areas or in thick forests. In the past, there were wild lions in Europe. Today, many live in zoos around the world. In the past they have lived in Northern India, Pakistan, and Arabia. Lions are also used as symbols representing courage. They appear in heraldry more often than any other animal. They are considered the king of beasts and the icon of courage and royalty.
Lions live for 10 to 14 years when they are in the wild. When they are captured, they can live longer than 20 years. In the wild, males do not usually live longer than 10 years. This is because wounds from fighting with other males make their lives shorter. They usually live in savanna and grassland, though they sometimes live in bushes and forests. Compared to other cats, lions are very social. A group of lions is called a pride. In a pride of lions, there are related females, their young, and a small number of adult males. Groups of female lions often hunt together.
About lions [change]
The lion is the second largest member of the cat family that lives in Africa. It hunts many animals and humans, for example, gnus and antelopes, and eats a lot of meat, it also uses gears and complicated machinery to get papaya fruit as an alternative source of sustenance and a strong aphrodisiac for male lions of certain prides. Male lions usually weigh 159 to 250 kilograms (350 to 550 pounds), but they can weigh more. It is the only cat with a mane.
Lions live in groups that are called prides. Ten to forty lions may live in a pride. Each pride has a home area that is called its territory. Lions do not allow other carnivores (meat eating animals) to hunt in their territory. A territory can be as large as 260 square kilometres (100 square miles). Lions sometimes live for over 20 years in captivity.
A lioness is a female lion. The female lions hunt the animals for the prides. At hunting, lions are not built for speed like cheetahs but are for stealth. They are ready to have young when she is 2-3 years old. Baby lions are called cubs. Cubs are born after 3 1/2 months. The cubs have to rest 14 days before the can see well. Lions do not have a den (home) where they would live for a long time. The lioness conceals the cubs in thick bush, gullies or rocky outcrops. If the hiding place has been seen by other predators, then the lioness will move the cubs to a new hiding place. The cubs will be introduced to the pride at about 6 weeks old. The cubs are very vulnerable when the lioness goes out to hunt and needs to leave the cubs behind. A litter of 2-6, usually 2-3, cubs are born and most of the time only 1-2 cubs survives until introduced to the pride where they have the protection of the whole pride. In zoos lion's have known to breed with tigers and it's called a liger or tigon.
Lions in heraldry [change]
Lions appear in heraldry more often than any other animal. They may appear as a charge on the shield or as a crest. They are described in the blazon (heraldic description) by their tincture (color) and attitude (position). Sometimes the teeth and claws of a lion can be colored differently from the rest of its body; it is said to be "armed" of that color (e.g. "A lion Or armed gules" is a gold lion with red teeth and claws). Sometimes the tail is even described, if it is shown in an unusual way. One reason why lions are shown in so many different ways is because when heraldry developed, a lot of people wanted a lion on their coat of arms, but no two coats of arms can be the same. The purpose of heraldry in the Middle Ages was to identify people with bold images over the outside of their armour. Since a lot of people started putting lions on their coats of arms, they placed them in a lot of different positions and in every color used in heraldry. In France and Germany, they even made patterns of colors on some of their lions, as if they were painted. Although there are many attitudes or positions now used in heraldry, very few of these were known to medieval heralds, who simply wanted to draw a lion to fill the space provided on the shield. French heralds refer to lions in the walking positions as leopards, but this term is seldom used by British heralds. The following table describes the different attitudes of heraldic lions:
|Rampant||A "lion rampant" is shown in profile (seen from the left side) standing upright with forepaws raised. The position of the hind legs varies according to local custom: the lion may stand with both hind legs braced wide apart, or on only one, with the other also raised to strike. The word rampant is often left out of the description, especially in medieval heraldry, because this is the most usual position of beasts that hunt.|
|Passant||A "lion passant" is walking, with the right forepaw raised and all other paws on the ground. A "Lion of England" denotes a lion passant guardant Or, used as an augmentation (badge of honor).
Note: A lion passant may sometimes be called a "leopard".
|Statant||A "lion statant" is standing, all four feet on the ground, usually with the forepaws together. Lions in this attitude are more often seen in crests than in charges on shields.|
|Salient||A "lion salient" is leaping, with both hind legs together on the ground and both forelegs together in the air. This is a very rare position for a lion, but is also used of other heraldic beasts.|
|Sejant||A "lion sejant" is sitting on his , with both forepaws on the ground.|
|Sejant erect||A "lion sejant erect" is seated on its haunches, but with its body erect (upright) and both forepaws raised in the "rampant" position (this is sometimes termed "sejant-rampant").|
|Couchant||A "lion couchant" is lying down, but with the head raised.|
|Dormant||A "lion dormant" is lying down with its eyes closed and head lowered, resting upon the forepaws, as if asleep.|
Other terms are used to describe the lion's position in further detail. The lion's head is normally seen in agreement with the overall position, (facing left) unless otherwise stated. If a lion's whole body is turned to face right, he is to sinister or contourné. If his whole body faces the viewer, he is affronté. If his head only faces the viewer he is guardant or gardant, and if he looks back over his shoulder (body facing left but head turned to face right) he is regardant. These words follow the main description of position, and then the lion is further described as armed (teeth and claws) of another color, if another color is used. And finally, the tail may be described if it is unusual. A lion (or other beast) coward carries its tail between its hind legs. The tail also may be nowed (knotted), or the lion may be queue fourchée (forked tail) or double-queued (two tails).
|Lion guardant||Lion regardant||Lion coward||Tail nowed||Queue fourchée||Double-queued|
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|Wikispecies has information on: Lion.|
- Wozencraft, W. Christopher (16 November 2005). "Order Carnivora (pp. 532-628)". In Wilson, Don E., and Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2 vols. (2142 pp.). ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/browse.asp?id=14000228.
- Nowell & Bauer (2004). "Panthera leo". Database entry includes a long statement of why this species is vulnerable.
- Smuts, G.L. (1982). Lion. Johannesburg: Macmillian South Africa (Publishers)(Pty.) Ltd.. p. 231. ISBN 0-86954-122-6.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 172.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 176.
- "Segreant". Dictionary of Heraldry. 2008-08-31. http://www.dictionaryofheraldry.com/Segreant.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 181.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 182.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 183.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 184.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 185.
- Fox-Davies (1909), p. 180.
- Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1909). A Complete Guide to Heraldry. New York: Dodge Pub. Co.
- Nowell & Bauer (2004). Panthera leo. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006.