Everyone on safari in Africa loves to see lions, the mighty kings of the savanna. We typically see lions on every giraffe survey, particularly in Tarangire National Park. Large adult male lions can monopolize several prides of females, making the rounds to check for mating opportunities, either individually or in coalitions with other males. This is one reason why we often see prides of females but not always the large adult males with the showy manes. On our last survey we were lucky to see three large males, two of whom were actively mating with females.
The mating behavior of lions seems quite exhausting! A lioness is in estrus for about 4 days, during which a lion pair will couple about 2.2 times per hour, each copulation lasting 21 seconds! The male follows the female around until she initiates mating by crouching before him (see first photo below). The female growls during the entire copulation, and afterwards the male dismounts and jumps aside with a snarl or roar, and the lioness twists her head with an explosive snarl (see second photo below). She then rolls onto her side or back - she may look cute and cuddly then, but we certainly wouldn't want to mess with her!
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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