What Do You Call a Female Lion?

Maureen Didde/CC-BY 2.0

A female lion is called a lioness. Lions are the only members of the cat family to show a difference in appearance between the male and the female. Lionesses have a short coat of stiff, tan hair and lack the mane that characterizes male lions.

Lions live in groups called prides that consist of three to 20 lions. Several lionesses and their cubs make up the pride along with one to four male lions. The lionesses do most of the hunting and raising the cubs while the male lions guard the territory and protect the pride from intruders. Female lions give birth to litters of three to four cubs at a time, and they raise the cubs in a group, often nursing each other’s young.