Yes – lions can climb trees. And the ability is not restricted to a particular breed – any lion can ascend a tree. Whether a lion climbs a tree or not is dependent on the suitability of the trees. The only lions that may not fancy climbing up a tree are the adults – their weight is a little too overbearing.
The other important question is about how high a lion can climb. Sometimes, lions are seen lounging on branches of sausage and acacia trees, which are known for their supportively wide branches. Nevertheless, many lions may not venture up the trees. They instead choose to stick to the lower, more supportive branches. In the Serengeti, the lions which love adventure have been seen going up about 15 feet on a sausage tree.
Experts do not fathom why lions climb trees, but there have been speculations. When a lion is up high, they get a better vantage point to scan the area and spot potential prey. The other reason may be to avoid animals or insects that may cause them harm while resting, such as blood-sucking tsetse flies, buffaloes, and elephants.
Like many other mammals, cubs learn lion behavior from their parents. All the social skills they know are picked up from their parents. Their parents teach them how to scale trees, and in the end, they become good tree-climbers. Unlike a leopard, a lion does not eat its food in the trees. All their feasting happens on the ground. Since leopards are evolved to climbing, they will take their kill to higher ground. This will prevent thieving hyenas and lions.
This read will bring to your attention some of the best facts about lions. Also, it will address how leopards and cheetahs related to climbing trees. In the end, it will give a particular focus on tigers and some facts about them. See yourself to the end and learn more about all these beautiful cats.
Other Facts About Lions
Globally, lions are as majestic as they can be. They are also the most fearsome creatures. But hey – how much do you even know about them? Let me guess – you know that you can never get close to a lion. Apart from their ability to climb trees, here are some facts about them:
1. On the planet, a lion is one of the heaviest animals. Generally speaking, the males can weigh up to 400 pounds and their female counterparts 290 pounds. Actually, the heaviest of this big cat weighed an astonishing 826 lbs.
2. A lion’s lifespan is anything around 12 years. This may change depending on whether the lion is in the wild or captivity. Also, it may vary depending on the breed.
3. The one way to tell the native area of a lion is by looking at its coat. Those whose coats are dark-furred come from hotter and arid lands, such as the deserts of Africa. There are other lions with white fur, and these are probably from areas that are colder and wetter.
4. Lions display the same phenomenon that canines do – living in packs. They group themselves in prides as wolves would in packs.
5. Like other wild animals, lions spray urine because of marking their territory. If it has urinated through the perimeter of a section, other lions will be wary when crossing the ‘border.’
6. The reference ‘king of the jungle’ is actually unreasonable because lions live in green plains, grasslands, and deserts.
7. As compared to the males, females engage in a lot of hard work. All the foraging and hunting is their business. On the other hand, males ensure that the pride is protected by keeping guard.
8. The impression given is that only male and female lions develop bonds for life – which is incomplete. Lionesses also bond for life. So, any lioness cubs that are brought up together will remain as friends unless they are separated. Actually, it is seldom that daughter and mother lions split.
9. Lions – mostly male – rest or sleep for most of the day. This behavior is similar to what domestic cats display. Lions spend about 20 hours a day in a state of inactiveness.
10. As compared to the other cats (which have slit pupils), lions have round pupils. The hypothesis posited regarding this phenomenon is that lions need to go hunting for larger prey. Also, the round pupils help the lion to hunt better at night. In the feline world, lions are the best nighttime hunters.
11. Lion pride can have 30 lions. This sizing is always motivated by something, for example, water, and food consumption.
12. Lions make their appearance in the list of the best-traveled animals on the globe. Although many of them live in African deserts now, they once were native to Europe and India. For a time, you would even find them in North America. Actually, about 300 lions are living in India. You will find the beast prowling and growling in the Gir Forest.
13. The one thing that lions are famous for is their growls. To know if a lion is nearby, you will find it roaring. However, the roar of a lion can be heard up to about 5 miles.
14. Lions may not be the fastest animals, but they are fast enough. They can engage in quick runs but not for too long. Their average top speed is around 50 mph. While you may not outrun it, you should pray that the pursuing lion loses its breathing.
15. As a lion grows, the color of its eyes will change. Cubs are born when they are blue-eyed. However, when the cub gets to about three months, the eye color is anything between amber and yellowy-brown.
16. If a lion is hungry, it might eat about 15 % of its weight in terms of food. This is about 18 pounds of meat.
17. The only sound we identify lions with is roaring. However, that is not the only sound that the beasts make. When domesticated, lions meow for attention and hiss when angry.
18. Lions are not the largest cats on the globe – they come before tigers. A tiger may not look huge, but it is. A tiger can be 100 kilos more than a lion!
19. There can be successful breeding between lions and other cats, such as the tiger. When you cross a tiger and lion – whichever male or female – you get tigons and ligers. You can see that tigon is a blended name starting with a tiger and ending with a lion. On the other hand, the liger begins with a lion and ends with a tiger.
20. Unlike other animals, lions do not have set periods to go into mating. Since the females know about this, they will try mating when news males come. They do that because of populating the pride.
21. When the mating time of lions kicks in, it happens for about three days continuously. They only take breaks of about 30 minutes between each heated session.
22. According to the IUCN – the International Union for Conservation of Nature – lions are listed as being critically endangered (CR). This is only two steps behind extinction, meaning that we need to take care of the population.
23. A powerful skill that lions possess is jumping. They use this skill to catch fleet-footed prey or when they feel like their tenacity is running down. The average leap of a lion is about 36 feet, which is a lot of ground that many preys do not get to cover.
24. You already know that lions have a fantastic hairstyle. This feature is only held by the lion and not any other big cat. An interesting thing you should know is that the thickness of a lion’s mane increases or decreases its chance of finding a mate. The thicker it is, the more the lion will get a lioness.
25. The mane helps researchers to identify the sex of the lions quickly. Other big cats do not have overt indicators of sex. However, some male lions may be mane-less.
26. The manes can also serve an age calculation purpose. By looking at a lion’s mane, you can tell if it is young or old. If a lion has a darker mane, it is older than those whose manes are lighter.
27. You may not imagine that there are many types of lions. Many people are conversant with African and Asian lions, but there are others out there – the total number is eight. There are lion varieties for the Congo and Ethiopian region and the Masai and the Asiatic lions.
28. When a lioness gives birth, the cubs are usually in multiples. In one live birth, a lioness can deliver up to 4 cubs. However, it is common to see a lioness delivering just one.
29. Like many mammals, lions have heels. However, they don’t get to use them when they are running. The lions ignore their heels to ensure that they move quickly. Since they are not the fastest hunters, lions will try and amass all the energy they can get.
30. The one thing noteworthy about the lion is its dewclaws on its paws. The lion uses these claws in the same way as we use our thumbs. Dewclaws help a lion to pin a prey down and put it under control after catching it.
31. You will be amazed at how lion territories can be massive. They can be as huge as 100 square miles.
32., Unlike humans, lions cannot look in different directions without moving their heads. Although they have large eyes, their pupils cannot take on side-to-side movements.
33. Each year, the estimate is that about 600 lions get killed by trophy hunters. Although there is a global outcry to help prevent the hunting of lions, a dark industry continues to export lion bodies to the United States and all over the world
34. It is thought that the length of a lion’s claw is the same as that of a human finger.
35. The claws of a lion or a lioness cannot be retracted fully. When they are at rest, they shrink back into their spaces.
36. Forget about what some Disney movies tell you – young lions can roar! At the age of two, a lion’s faculties are developed enough to sound a roar.
37. While many people think that lions are active predators, they are, for the most part, scavengers. Actually, most of the diet of a lion is made of food sourced from scavenging adventures.
38. Like bears, lions are the ultimate predators in their food chain. However, they usually put themselves at risk when they hunt for buffalos. These relatives of the cow cause many lion deaths and are the deadliest prey that a lion faces.
39. Many lions do not live with females in the pride. For example, Asiatic lions only live with the other gender if they have killed a large prey number or are looking for a mate.
40. Lions achieve sexual maturity when they are two years old. However, they have to wait for about a year or so to act on the instincts. Lionesses start giving birth when they are four years old.
41. The virility of a lion can stay up to when the lion is 16 years old.
42. The jaw of a lion can be open up to a foot in terms of size. That means that an entire human head can fit into it a lion’s fully-open mouth.
43. The loose skin around the abdomen of a lion has a purpose. It helps to ensure that the lion experiences little damage when scratched or kicked.
44. At one time, Africa was home to about 200,000 lions. These days in the wild, you will not find any more than 10% of that number on the continent.
45. One type of lion – the Asiatic lion – reproduces healthily, meaning that its numbers continue to go up. In the last decade, the lions have grown in number to about 27% more of their population. Increased conservation is to be lauded for such developments.
46. Giant preys like buffalos do not intimidate lions. A lion can hunt and kill a 1000-pound prey animal.
47. To pull down a prey, a lion scratches its ankle. This may be a tickle-move to slow or relax the prey’s movement before it is taken down.
Bonus Section: Facts About The Other Big Cats
Leopards And Climbing Trees
If you know about the big cats, you know that leopards are born to climb trees. Once they make a kill, they love to stash it on the trees. When they drag their food into the branches, the leopards ensure that the food is protected from scavengers and predators who may try and steal it. The most common culprits are hyena.
Looking at the body of a leopard, you can tell that it was built for climbing. A leopard has powerful back legs to help them propel and ascend. Also, they have strong claws to help them dig and get a grip on the bark of a tree. To ensure that they remain balanced as they climb, leopards have a compact body size and a low center of gravity. As compared to lions, these can climb a lot higher.
Cheetahs And Climbing Trees
Unlike leopards, cheetahs are not born to climb trees. However, cheetah cubs do clamber up the trees’ trunks, but they like staying close to the ground as possible.
The one thing that limits and inhibits the cheetah’s climbing abilities is its claws – they do not retract, just like those of a dog. Their muscles are also not built for climbing; they are made for speed as the cheetahs are speedy and lithe.
The Tiger And Its Bigness
Leave alone cheetahs, lions, and leopards; the tiger is worth looking at. Tigers are the heaviest and the largest cat species. As mentioned earlier, a tiger is about 100 or so kilos more than a lion, weighing about 320 kg. It can be as long as 11 feet, that is, from head to tail.
1. Tiger Do Not Roar – They Make Different Sounds
Unlike many other cats, tigers are incredibly blessed with the power to use several distinctive sounds to communicate with each other. The sounds are used to display affection, dominance, mood, and stress, among others. Also, they hear ultra-sonic and low-frequency sounds. To catch the course of the sounds involved, they rotate their ears. If you are on a safari, the sounds that you may pick out are wrestling sounds, affectionate chuffing, moaning, whining, and grunting, mating roars, and stress calls by cubs.
2. These Big Cats Can Climb Trees
Like the other cats, tigers have no problem climbing trees. However, they rarely do. Young cubs are the only ones that exhibit the behavior. Because of their retractably sharp claws, tigers get a powerful grip when they hold on to a tree trunk. The reason why older tigers cannot climb trees is their overbearing weight. It may be difficult to ascend with all those pounds on top of a tree. However, there are records telling of adult tigers that chased monkeys and leopards up trees.
3. Tigers Are Lovers Of Water
Tigers love water and will spend a lot of time dousing at the pond, waterholes, rivers, and at the edge of lakes. What tigers do is submerge themselves and soak their necks when the days are hotter. Apart from being excellent swimmers, they also like to drink lots of water (between 15 and 20 gallons).
4. Tigers Can Use Their Olfactory Sense To Locate Each Other
Tigers can pick up information from the atmosphere, scents on trees, droppings, and scratch marks to know where other tigers are. To inhale a scent, tigers will raise their lips, expose their hanging tongue and fangs, and their wrinkled noses. Then, they lead the smell to their Jacobson organ. It helps to do some chemical transmission that tells tigers if a female, a sibling, or a trespasser is around.
5. The Saliva Of A Tiger Acts As An Antiseptic
The tiger’s saliva has lysozyme enzymes, which ensure that wounds do not get infected. Also, they clean their coats by licking themselves. Tigers have a rough and sharp tongue covered with papillae – this ensures that the feathers and fur of prey are removed when a tiger is feeding.
6. Tigers Do Not Like Being In The Company Of Humans
By nature, tigers are shy and secretive. Usually, tigers will avoid people and skips areas when they are intervened. They will only stay in the vicinity if they are on a kill, with cubs, or are injured. When they are in parks, they love moving into bushes and avoid the guards. The only reasons why tigers become man-eaters are habitat loss, old age, injury, and, mostly, prolonged hunger.
7. Tigers Hunt By Ambushing The Prey
Before making a kill, a tiger will prefer concealing itself in the environment. It will then use the direction of the wind before it makes a kill. The stripes of tigers offer excellent camouflage in bamboo thickets, tall grass, and in the bush.
Tiger will stalk prey until they reach a striking distance. They will then freeze totally before they sprint for their last step. To avoid being detected, tigers work hard to succeed. Every other wild animal will scream its lungs out to announce the cat’s presence. Before a tiger seizes its prey, it tries for between 10 and 12 attempts.
8. Tigers Embrace Aloneness
As solitary animals, tigers lead very lonely lives. In the wild, they will spend short periods while breeding and bringing up cubs. This innate behavior develops in the earlier stages of the tiger’s life. It becomes solid when the cub is about ten months. When they grow older, they start avoiding one another. Then, they start exploring and expanding on their mother’s territory. The tigers do that until they find their own space.
The trespassing animals do not get to female tigers thanks to the efforts of the male. He helps her raise the cubs until they are a little grown-up.