What Is the Life Cycle of a Lion?
The life cycle of a lion starts with gestation and cubbing and continues with the growth of the cub from blindness at birth to the development of permanent teeth. The lion then reaches sexual maturity, grows to its adult size and reproduces several times before dying.
Gestation, the period of time in which the young are carried and develop in the mother’s uterus, lasts for 105 to 118 days. When a cub is born, it is blind and lives off its mother’s milk. It gains sight during the first 11 days and learns to walk after two weeks. In the fourth week, milk teeth develop and the cubs learn to run. The cub is weaned from milk when it is 10 months old and grows its permanent teeth. Between its first and second year, the cub makes its first kill.
A lion reaches sexual maturity between 26 and 33 months old, though it does not reproduce until it reaches adult size between its third and fourth year. A lion does not breed during a particular season, but a female does have an estrus cycle that occurs monthly. When lions mate, mating occurs several times a day until the end of the cycle. A lion reproduces regularly until it reaches the age of 11. Adult lions live between 15 and 18 years in the wild and 20 or more years in captivity.