8 Superb secrets why the lion is considered “King of the jungle”
I’ve heard it all my life, but am not even sure that the lion (also called Panthera leo), found majorly in East Africa’s (Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in Uganda, Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara ), Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mozambique, Congo and recently reintroduced into Akagera National Park in the northeast of Rwanda.
This brave animal that appears lazy is always considered king over all other animals including tigers, crocodiles, bears, elephants, hippos, rhinos, wild beasts, giraffes etc.
Many people have criticized the decision of calling ‘him’ so. Below are a few reasons that will make you accept that these big cats deserve the crown.
- The lion is very muscular: The lion’s body is very muscular, with less bone mass than other animals of comparable size. This is also responsible for the grace of movement we associate with members of the cat family. The forebody of the lion is very powerfully built, and has the greatest forebody strength of any cat, except possibly the tiger. This enables the lion to deliver blows with it’s forepaws heavy enough to break a zebra’s back.
- Perfect eye sight and hearing ability: A lion’s eyesight is five times better than a human’s, and it can hear prey that is more than a mile away. Using their keen sense of smell, lions can tell if prey is nearby and even how long ago it was in the area.
- Powerful sense of smell: Using their keen sense of smell, lions can tell if prey is nearby and even how long ago it was in the area.
- High prestige and pride: This is mostly because of a lion’s appearance and somewhat because of the how social they are. A lion does possess a royal look and attitude. Add to that it’s tremendous roar that can be heard over miles across the Savannah. Also, living in a pride, a lion doesn’t need to hide itself or avoid any other animals including human beings. A lion lives in the open and controls its territory like a true king.
- Cultural Influence: From the ancient Greeks (“lions’ reputation for kindness and magnanimity was extended by Pliny and Aristotle”, Page 286, Ref. 28) to the present day Europeans and inhabitants of New World, the lion is a more familiar animal than the tiger or any other animal. Also, a wildlife tourist paying a fortune for a tour would rather prefer to see a whole pride of wild cats that can be spotted easily and observed for a long a time, than catching a glimpse of an elusive cat for half a minute after waiting for two days!
- Lifestyle: Being the head of a pride, a lion has to ‘rule’ his ‘subjects’ (even though very few) to some extent. Also, being in a pride means that it can live in the open, and not hide in the jungle.
Living in prides give lions the strength in numbers. So much so that even elephants do not unnecessarily disturb a lion pride. Only a very large pack of hyena may challenge a pride over a kill, or elephants may sometimes chase lions away from a water hole. But other than that, the king retains his throne.
- Incredible strength: By same analogy, all tertiary carnivores would be eligible for being the king, but owing to its obvious strength, visual majesty and other noticeable features, it came to be historically regarded as such definitely not based on laborious scientific logic.
- The Mane: The oh-so-impressive manes of the males gives them a very royal and attractive look, a crown if you may. It also makes them look bigger than they are (fact being tigers are bigger than the lions). The manes also make the lions even appear more intimidating.
The Term “King of the Beast” can be misleading because several times lions have been seen running away from many creatures, including elephants and rhinoceros.