Animal Info Lions Family Life and Reproduction

About the family life and reproduction habits of lions including heat, mating and upbringing of cubs



Unless pregnant, a lioness comes into heat every three weeks. She and the male act as lovesick as newlyweds on their honeymoon, mating--with great affection--every 20 or 30 minutes. An indefatigable employee of the Dresden Zoo clocked one pair's lovemaking--360 times in 8 days.

The gestation period is 3 1/2 months. Only half the cubs survive in the wild. But once they become members of a pride--at 2 1/2 months--dangers are minimized. Every lioness, whether or not she is the mother, nurses and smothers the cubs with affection. The male, too, is active in their upbringing. At 6 1/2 months, the cubs graduate to meat eating.

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