The lion is the second-largest member of the cat family, growing to a height of about 4 feet, a length of 5 to 8 feet and a weight of between 330 and 500 pounds. Female lions are generally smaller, but do most of the hunting. Male lions are easily distinguished by their manes. According to Science Kids, male lions with darker manes attract more female lions.
Lions can run in short bursts at a speed of 50 mph. They hunt from dusk until dawn, seeking zebras, giraffes, wildebeests and buffalo as prey. They even attack large animals, such as hippopotamuses, rhinoceroses and elephants. They also consume smaller prey, such as birds, hares and reptiles. Lions require 11 to 15 pounds of meat per day for proper nutrition.
Lions live in the Sahara desert and in parts of southern and eastern Africa, thriving in the grassy plains, savannas, scrub lands and open woodlands that afford them protection as they stalk their prey. They live in groups of about 15 cats called prides. Most members of the pride are females and their young. Lone or small groups of males join the pride for several years at a time, moving on when a new group of males arrives.