Do Lions Live In The Jungle? Learn About The Jungle King's Habitat

Arpitha Rajendra
Mar 25, 2023 By Arpitha Rajendra
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Pride of lions resting.

The greatest threat an African lion, an Asiatic lion, or any other lion population face is habitat loss of their territorial regions.

Lions have the highest percentage of skeletal muscles among mammals making up to 58.8% of their body weight. The lions' skull structure is identical to that of a tiger.

The lion (Panthera leo) is a big cat originating from India and Africa. The lion's body is deep-chested, muscular with a round head and ears.

A hairy tuft is present at the end of the lion's tail. The top speed of lions is around 50 mph (81 kph), so they are the second-fastest land creature in Africa. Sexual dimorphism in lions is the predominant mane of males, and they are also larger in body size than females.

Lions' natural habitats include savannas and grasslands. A group of lions is known as a pride, and the group of male lions is called a coalition.

Lions hunt animals like the giraffe, the zebra, and wildebeest. Lions are generally inactive for around 20 hours per day to save up their energy. They are quite active after dusk and get involved in activities like grooming, defecating, and socializing.

Originally, these apex predators occurred in the Sahara desert and central montane rainforest zones of Africa. These species become extinct around the '60s in northern areas of Africa except South Sudan.

Lions have deep-chested and muscular bodies with round ears and heads. Lions can vary in color from dark brown, light buff, yellow-red to silver-gray.

Their underparts are usually light. They have a hair tuft at the end of their tails that are darker than their bodies. This tuft develops after the cubs are around 5.5 months old and the mane starts to grow one year after the cub's birth.

If you enjoy reading these facts about whether lions live in the jungle, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about what a group of lions is called and why lions have manes here at Kidadl.

Do lions live in the jungle?

No, lions do not live in the jungle.

We have either read or heard that the lions are big cats of the jungle. Lions love forming their territory in the savannahs that are grassy plains with open woodlands and few trees.

These habitats around the world help lions and lionesses hunt their prey effectively. We usually think that lions live in jungles is due to the wrong translation.

The word jungle is derived from 'jangal', a Hindi word that can mean both wasteland and forest. In contemporary English, the meaning of the word jungle is translated to the forest. Many lions have been observed around the montane rainforests in Ethiopia and this also leads people to think lions occupy the jungle.

However, it is stated that the region is their migration route in the dry season and lions only pass through the jungle. These sightings are also very rare.

Prides of lions also live in zoos with the environment imitation their natural habitat like grasslands. Most zoos are doing this to protect by providing shade in the territory, adequate space for lions to play and roam, and some elevated areas. Some national parks are also providing natural habitats and prey animals to protect lions.

Why don't lions live in the jungle?

Lions do not live in the jungle or rainforests because they prefer a habitat like open woodlands and they would also face competition for territory from tigers that do live in the jungle.

Lions in savannahs, bushes around grasslands, rivers with shrubs, and open grassy plains have the distinct advantage of finding easy prey. A lion rarely enters the thick and closed forest.

The lion population has been recorded at 11,800 ft (3,600 m) on Mount Elgon and close to Mount Kenya's snow line. Scattered acacia trees in the savannah habitat provide shade to lions and lionesses.

It is also easier for lions to communicate with each other as their roar can reach a distance of 5 mi (8 km).

Currently, lions are listed as Vulnerable and at the edge of extinction so, they are found across several national parks. The only surviving Asiatic lions are now found in Gir National Park, Gujarat.

As tigers roam around the thickest dense rainforests in the same parts of the world as lions, it would lead to territory and food problems for the big predators. However, the population of both these species has reduced due to habitat loss and hunting by humans.

Lions and tigers are also used by humans in circuses and zoos. Conservation efforts are being done for coexisting of humans and lions with a strong prey base and less fragmentation of their land.

Lion with dark mane running in jungle.

Where do lions live other than jungles?

Lions occupy west, east, central, and southern Africa and India.

Once occupying a huge rage around southern Europe, Asia, and Africa, the number of lions has drastically decreased, disappearing from around 94% of their historic habitats. African lions of Central and West Africa are Critically Endangered.

Over the next 20 years, there is a chance of 50% population decline in these regions. The main threat to lions, lionesses, and cubs here is hunting for bushmeat by local people.

The reserves around these regions allow the wildlife to roam freely increasing the chance of hunting. Lions of East Africa have the largest population, however, are still declining.

They are found in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve and Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. These lions are not well-protected and the increase in the human population is a threat to them.

Lions in southern Africa are well-managed and well-funded, so are listed as Least Concern. However, the population has not increased due to lack of space and habitat loss. The Endangered subspecies of Asiatic lions occupy Gujarat's Gir National Park.

The animals were previously hunted and hence their population declined. However, after confinement, the population has steadily increased from 523 individuals in 2015 to 674 in 2020. Lions face huge risks of illegal trade, poaching, climate change, and human conflicts.

Who is the real king of the jungle, the lion or the tiger?

The real king of the jungle is usually a lion, however, research states that tigers are stronger than lions.

Lions are stronger and more aggressive than other big cats like cheetahs and leopards, and also hyenas. The pride consists of male lions, lionesses, and cubs.

They hunt and raise a cub within the pride. Males' primary responsibility is to mark the pride's territory with urine and defend all of them from intruders by roaring. Lions are highly protective of their territory and can kill any intruder that tries to get in.

Female lions are primary hunters and can work together to hunt. Although every individual in the pride works, the male is the king that rules the pride and takes care of it.

Tigers are solitary creatures and are stronger than lions. However, tigers are shorter in height. If a fight were to break out between a tiger and lion, the tiger will likely win.

Although, a pride of lions will easily defeat a lone tiger. Most experts also favor Bengal or Siberian tigers over African lions. As per the habitat, lions don't even occupy jungles, but tigers roam around in the many forest regions.

Hyenas in a group also have an advantage over a weak and lone lion. The natural predator of a lone tiger is the Indian wild dog called Dhole. One whole pack can take on a tiger due to the Dhole's swiftness that comes from the small size.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for facts on whether lions live in the jungle, then why not take a look at if lions eat cheetahs or lion facts?

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Written by Arpitha Rajendra

Bachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

Arpitha Rajendra picture

Arpitha RajendraBachelor of Engineering specializing in Aeronautical/Aerospace Technology, Master of Business Administration specializing in Management

With a background in Aeronautical Engineering and practical experience in various technical areas, Arpitha is a valuable member of the Kidadl content writing team. She did her Bachelor's degree in Engineering, specializing in Aeronautical Engineering, at Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020. Arpitha has honed her skills through her work with leading companies in Bangalore, where she contributed to several noteworthy projects, including the development of high-performance aircraft using morphing technology and the analysis of crack propagation using Abaqus XFEM.

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