Why Do Lions Have Forepaws Equipped With Long Retractable Claws?

lions-forepaws-equipped-long-retractable-claws Credit: Tambako The Jaguar/CC-BY-2.0

The retractable claws in lions’ front paws aid them primarily in hunting. A lions sinks the 1 ½-inch-long claws into its prey to hold it in place for a swift kill.

The retractable nature of the claws keeps them in prime condition for hunting by protecting them when they are not in use. Being able to retract the claws also allows the lion sneak up silently on its prey, which is vital to the lion’s hunting strategy. Lions often retract their claws when playing to avoid hurting each other. The claws grow from the inside out, keeping them constantly sharp and strong as older layers peel off to reveal the new growth.