What is a pride?
There are 36 species of cats, but only one of those species are social with each other. Do you know who it is? Lions! Other cats do not mix well unless they were raised with each other and stay with each other. Even then, there is a potential that there will be issues. When there is a pack of lions ranging from 4 lions to roughly 30 lions, that’s known as a pride. There are approximately about 3 to 4 male lions that stay in the pride! All the rest are females or cubs that are related to each other in some fashion, whether that be because they are sisters, cousins, or mother and daughter.
Cubs entering the pride
Did you know that lionesses, female lions, can choose when to have their cubs?! If conditions are not up to what the mother wants, whether that is enough food or water, she can wait until there are better conditions. When a mother decides to have her cubs, she leaves the pride and gives birth to anywhere from 3 to 6 cubs somewhere hidden like a cave, a den, or a large hidden grassy area. The cubs must stay hidden away from the rest of the pride until they are about 6 weeks old!
After they reach 6 weeks old, they are allowed to join the pride if, and only if, there are not already several older cubs in the pride. If there are older cubs in the pride, they have to wait until they are 3 months old to finally join the pride. They cannot join the pride when there are other older cubs because the older cubs will bully the younger ones and steal their milk. When they are 3 months old, they can stand up for themselves and take what is theirs! When they join the pride, the cubs are put in a nursery group. They are allowed nurse off their mother and any other females in the pride. While in their group, they are to learn the basics of hunting together. They do this by watching the adults hunt. They also learn how to fight by play fighting with each other. When they are old enough, roughly 3 years old, the males will have to leave the pride while the females get to stay!
Each lion has its own role to play in the pride. The males are the protectors; they protect the territory of which their pride is staying. They do this by spraying urine on surrounding objects, and they will deal with other prides that enter their territory. The females raise the cubs and hunt for the pride. When they are successful in the hunt, they bring back their catch to the males. Due to hiearchy, the males get to eat first. After the males have eaten, it’s the female’s turn to chow down, and the cubs are last in line. Lionesses can hunt alone but will rely on safety in numbers when needed. They spread out like a fan and several hide in the tall grass or behind something to where the prey can’t see them. The other lions then lure their prey towards the ones in hiding. When they get close enough to them, they attack!