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Congo Lion: 19 Facts You Won't Believe!

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Congo Lion

The Congo lion (Panthera leo azandica) is a lion subspecies native to Africa. Having a golden-yellow colored fur-covered body, they are truly the king of their habitat. Unlike other lions, the Congo lions prefer staying in the grasslands and open scrublands of Congo over the forests. Being keystone predators, these lions are heavy carnivorous eaters, capable of chasing, attacking, and preying on large and fleshy herbivorous animals like giraffes, zebras, African buffalos, deer, and other species. As these animals belong to the class of mammals, the female gives birth to one to four cubs per breeding season. They are territorial by nature and like living in groups, protecting their own territory from other lion groups. Over the years, rapid habitat loss, poaching, and overhunting of these lions in Africa have massively shrunk their population size. They are now a vulnerable species, conserved in protected areas of Africa, away from direct human interference.

Want to know more about these cats? Read on to know more interesting facts about the Congo lions.

You may also like to discover some unique facts about the addax and Cuban solenodon here.

Congo Lion Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Congo lion?

The Northeast Congo lion (Panthera leo azandica) is one of the sub-species of the African lions. They are much bigger in size than the Asian or Indian lions of the Gir forests.

What class of animal does a Congo lion belong to?

The Congo lion (Panthera leo azandica) belongs to the class Mammalia. The female wild cats give birth to cubs after mating with the males during the breeding season. For feeding the cubs, the mother lion uses its milk-secreting mammary glands.

How many Congo lions are there in the world?

Due to their dwindling populations, there aare less than 25,000 Congo lions in the wild. This is an issue of great concern as they are declared Vulnerable to Extinction by the IUCN.

Where does a Congo lion live?

Congo lions are African lions that are native to the Northeast Democratic Republic of Congo and West Uganda in Africa.

What is a Congo lion's habitat?

The habitat of these wild animals ranges from the grassy plains, dry savannas, open woodlands, scrublands, and open forest. They prefer living in comparatively open areas with bushy vegetation and near water bodies. This helps them to easily spot and chase their prey while hunting.

Who does the Congo lion live with?

These African lions are known to live in groups, marking their own territory. They are highly territorial and protect it by all means from other animals. The duty of protecting the territory is bestowed on the males, who are often seen to roar and become violent if a stranger lion pack intrudes. Couples are seen to always stay together, building up their family

How long does a Congo lion live?

The average lifespan of the Congo lion is between 10-14 years in the wild, around other wildlife. As their life in the wild is becoming increasingly endangered due to rapid habitat loss, causing a 50% decline in the last two decades, they are shifted to protected areas for conservation. With proper care, these lions can survive more than 14 years and can also breed newer generations, uplifting their falling population size.

How do they reproduce?

During the time of mating, the male lion bites the neck of the lioness to weaken her and copulates with her. After this, the male guards the female until the female's estrus cycle (urge to mate) is over. If unguarded, she might mate with another male lion. The pregnant lioness takes around 110 days to give birth to the cubs. She reproduces one to four cubs, who are nourished and cared for by the lioness, except the time when she goes out to hunt for prey. The cubs become efficient predators within a year of their birth and become independent and mature thereafter.

What is their conservation status?

 At present, the Congo lions are listed as a Vulnerable species by the IUCN. Anthropogenic practices like over-hunting, land clearing for construction of settlements, and consequent habitat loss and poaching are the major causes of their dwindling populations. Although conservation efforts are being undertaken at present, more research should be conducted to preserve this auspicious wildlife species of Africa.

Congo Lion Fun Facts

What do Congo lions look like?

Congo Lion

The Congo lion is a big lion species having its body covered with golden-yellow fur on its upper side to wheatish-yellow colored fur towards its belly. The edge of the male lion's face is covered with rough and pointy golden brown colored mane, while this hair is absent in the lioness. These four-legged animals have very strong paws, making them swift runners. Their eyes are golden in color with a black pupil in the center. Their tail is long and slender, covered with bushy brown hairs at its tip.

How cute are they?

The appearance of the African lions native to Congo is a mix of cute yet powerful. Their golden-yellow colored slender and long body with four legs and a bushy tail tip makes the king of the jungle look extremely rugged. As they are a cat species, these lions cannot be devoid of cuteness and look quite adorable, especially the lion cubs.

How do they communicate?

Congo lions are very vocal about their likes and dislikes. They are known to roar so loudly that they can be heard from 8 mi (12.8 km) away. They can also squeal or sometimes meow loudly like cats displaying their affectionate behavior. While defending their territories or calling their family member, these African lions, mostly the males roar loudly to ward away other lions trying to invade their land.

How big is a Congo lion?

The Congo lions are much larger than the Asian subspecies. The average body size of the Congo lion ranges between 4.6-6.6 ft (1.4-2 m) in length. While their tail size is also considerably long, ranging between 20.1-40.2 in (51-102 cm). When compared by height, the Congo lion is five times shorter than a giraffe and six times bigger than a domestic cat.

How fast can a Congo lion run?

Although the exact running speed of a Congo lion is not known, lions are famous for their extremely fast running speeds. Being one of the top predators in the world, this lion species can chase its prey to completion in seconds.

How much does a Congo lion weigh?

The weight of an adult African lion ranges between 264.6-480.6 lb (120-218 kg). Although they have a lot of body mass, these cats are great predators and capable of running swiftly to hunt their prey.

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male is called a lion and a female is called a lioness.

What would you call a baby Congo lion?

A baby Congo lion is called a cub.

What do they eat?

The Congo lion has a carnivorous diet. They are efficient predators at hunting their prey in the wild. To hunt their prey, they keep on chasing at fast speeds till the prey comes in hand and then tears off large chunks of flesh from its body. They do not eat the entire prey at once. The lions save a portion of it to satiate later hunger. The Congo lion is most likely to attack medium-sized fleshy animals mainly zebra, gemsbok, African buffalo, elephants, deer, wildebeest, giraffe. They avoid chasing animals that are bigger in size than them like elephants and extremely small animals like rabbits. A unique habit of these lions is that they attack and hunt their prey only when hungry and not at other times.

Are they poisonous?

These African lions have not proved to be poisonous for human beings or any other animals. But they are extremely dangerous predators. If spotted alone, be it human or any fleshy animal, the lions will chase in groups and attack their prey by surrounding it from all sides. With their extremely sharp canines and jaw muscles, they can easily tear off large pieces of flesh from the prey's body and kill it in seconds.

Would they make a good pet?

The African lion population has fallen massively over the last 25 years and there is no chance of keeping them as pets. As it is they are highly predatory by nature, it is not safe to keep them as a pet. Secondly, buying or selling these animals by abducting them from their natural habitat is a punishable offence under the Animal Protection Act. Also, Congo lions are an endangered species, and so are conserved in the protected areas and cannot be taken home as pets. However, if you are a lion fanatic, you can visit few a of the protected areas and zoos. In Africa, where you can feed them meat under the observation of the zoo staff.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

Congo lions are also known as Congolese lions. The 'azandica' in their scientific name, refers to the area of distribution of this cat species in Africa.

Barbary lions are extinct in today's day and age.

Congo lions are efficient food gatherers. On the lazy days, they invade the territory of other animals, steal their kill to obtain food.

Since 90% of their diet consists of meat, they are called hypercarnivores. They are the keystone species of their ecosystem.

To mark their territory from other lion pride, the males of a family start urinating around the area, signifying their ownership of that land.

While a male lion protects its territory, the lioness goes out to kill and bring home sufficient food for the family.

Is the Congo lion extinct?

No, the Congo lions have not become extinct until now. But they have been listed as a vulnerable species, fast towards the verge of being critically endangered. Although over the past two decades their population has fallen by 50%, due to their conservation in protected areas the population of these African lions is slowly rising.

What are three interesting facts about lions?

Since the lions reside in their territory in groups of 20-30, the entire group is called a pride, or a pride of lions. The male lions have longer hair around their face which is not present in lionesses. Lastly, all lions are lazy by nature and may spend an entire day sleeping for up to 20 hours.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals from our white tiger facts or Siberian tiger facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable realistic white lion coloring pages.

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