Animal Info Lions Physical Facts

About the physical facts and behavior of lions including size, speed, intelligence and loyalty.



When fully grown, a male lion measures about 9 ft.--including a 3-ft. tail--and weighs 400 to 500 lb. The female is smaller--about 8 ft. and 300 lb. The lion's coat is short-haired and brownish-yellow. The male's is impressive in appearance, with a black tuft at the tip of his tail and a long, luxurious mane ranging in color from blond to tawny to rufous.

Although lions run in short spurts, their speed is impressive--60 mph. Their lifetime is 20 to 25 years.

Lions display intelligence in the way they communicate with humans. Some, like Christian, even indicate a sense of humor. When he stumbled, according to Anthony Rourke and John Rendall in A Lion Called Christian, he would first look humiliated and then, like a human, nonchalantly go about his business as though nothing had happened.

They also can be intensely loyal. Freddie, and orphaned cub raised by an Englishman, courageously attacked an adult male that was strangling his master. By diverting the lion's attention, he saved the Briton's life.

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