Big cat

Elizabeth Kendall

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa

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FEATURED in ARTISTS of REDBUBBLE
23 May 2011.
View the Permanent feature page
One of the TOP TEN in a challenge in Wildlife of Southern Africa
20 July 2011.
One of the TOP TEN in a challenge: Wild Cats of Africa in Afrikaans is my moedertaal
24 Sept. 2011
SPOTLIGHT FEATURE and Avatar for the week in Animals of Africa, best of the best
29 October 2015.
FEATURED in Breathtaking wild animals and plants
2 November 2015.
The lion (Panthera leo) is one of the four big cats in the genus Panthera, and a member of the family Felidae.
One of Africa’s Big Five, the lion is a carnivore (meat eater) and a hunter. It uses its powerful forelegs to grab or slap down large prey that would otherwise outrun it. The jaws are short and strong with long canine teeth that are used to quickly kill the prey, either by biting the neck and strangling or by biting the nose and suffocating. The tongue’s upper surface has small bumps on it which enables the lion to hold on to meat while eating and to remove parasites when grooming.
Its legs are short with very powerful muscles enabling it to sprint and bring down large prey. The ability to retract its claws helps in protecting them so they maintain their sharpness.
Male lions are 20 to 35% larger than the females and 50% heavier. The male’s chief role is to protect the pride’s territory and females from other males. Size is therefore an advantage though it increases the male’s need for food. Only males grow a mane. It causes him to look bigger without increasing his weight or need for food. It also protects him from bites and scratches should he have to fight another male.
Each lion has, what are called, “whisker spots”. The pattern formed by this top row of whiskers differs in every lion and remains the same throughout its lifetime. Field researchers often use this unique pattern to identify specific animals.
Canon PowerShot S515
Photo: Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Artwork Comments

  • dedmanshootn
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  • Bradley Nichol
  • Michael  Moss
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