How Does a Lion Protect Itself?

A lion protects itself with its sharp teeth and retractable claws. Male lions have thick manes that serve to intimidate enemies, as well as protect the vulnerable neck from attack or during fights with other lions.

A lion uses its retractable claws not only as defense, but to hunt as well. These claws, made up of layers of keratin that are similar to human fingernails, but much thicker and stronger, can grow up to 1 1/2 inches long. The front paws have five rather than four claws, the fifth of which acts as a thumb to aid in hunting.

Lions have sharp canines, the four long teeth on either side of its mouth that it uses to rip into skin. These deadly weapons grow up to nearly 3 inches in length. The incisors, or front teeth, positioned between the canines are used to grip prey while small, sharp teeth in the back of the mouth are used to cut through meat like a serrated knife.

A lion uses its keen senses to alert it to danger. For instance, a lion has tubes on the sides of its nasal septum that enhances its sense of smell, allowing it to taste the air for danger or possible food.