Lions Meeting in the Road in the Kruger National Park in South Africa

Lions Meeting in the Road in the Kruger National Park in South Africa

Lion Reproduction, Cubs, and Lifespan Both male and female lions are able to reproduce between the ages of two and three but despite this, they will often not breed until the pride has been firmly established. After a gestation period that lasts for nearly four months, female lions give birth to between one and six cubs that are born blind and are incredibly vulnerable in their new surroundings. The fur of lion cubs is covered in darker spots that help to camouflage them into their den to protect them whilst the adults have gone out to hunt.

Sadly, however, less than half of cubs make it to be a year old and four out of five have died by the time they are two, generally either from animal attacks or starvation. Remarkably though, the female lions in the pride will have their cubs at around the same time and will help to suckle and care for the cubs of other females. Lion cubs suckle on milk until they are about six months old and although they won’t begin actively hunting until they are about a year old, lion cubs start to eat meat after 12 weeks or so.


Like most big cats, lions live about 10 to 15 years. In captivity, lions have lived quite a bit longer than in the wild. In 2016, the Philadelphia Zoo was had to euthanize a 25-year old female lion after it began suffering from limited mobility.

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