White lions are carnivorous like other lions and large cats, preferring to feed on zebras, wildebeest and other herbivores found in grassland habitats where lions dwell. Occasionally they even feed on large mammals such as cape buffalo and elephants.
White lions are not a different species, but occur due to a recessive genetic trait that occasionally shows up in regular breeding pairs. They have a creamy or light tan coat of fur, light amber eyes and white manes.
White lions most often appear in the Timbavati area of South Africa and are so rare that for years people believed that they were just a myth. However, a researcher in 1975 discovered two white lions among a new litter of cubs. Soon they were captured and put in animal preserves.
White lions discovered in the wild are often captured and put in preserves and zoos because they are unlikely to survive for long in the wild. For instance, the researcher who took in the first white cubs in 1975 only captured them after he witnessed a white cub in another pride disappear. Not only are white lions low on the pride social hierarchy, but their bright coloring makes it difficult for them to blend into the grasslands and hunt.