A Lion's Life

C.T. AretzStarred Page By C.T. Aretz, 26th Jun 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2iez7f1h/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

If we were lions in Africa how would we live? What would we have to do to survive and produce kin that would survive us? To learn how to hunt, fight, and protect a pride is to be a lion -- this article takes a deeper more personal look into a lions life, and there's a lesson behind the experience.

A Life of An African Lion

If I lived a life as an African lion (panthera leo), I would have been raised as a cub in a pride that would have varied in the number of resident lionesses, and these lionesses would have mostly, if not all of them, been related. There would be typically less male lions than female -- despite the numbers, a territory would have been drawn and protected by the male(s): marked by urine and claimed by roars heard from five miles away, and these kings would be considered the "resident" males. If you weren't a resident male, you were a trespasser or a challenge, and you would definitely be asking for a fight. My father would be the biggest and strongest; he would be the more dominant lion out of the others in his coalition of male lions (if he ever had a coalition -- also, usually related). His dominance would have been judged by how dark and full his mane is in comparison to the other possible candidates. This is a measure of testosterone that the lionesses would be attracted too. living in the wild is tough, the more dominant the genes, the better the litter. My father would have mated with all the lionesses in the pride -- usually the male lions aren't related to the pride of lionesses they reside over (most prides of lionesses have been fought for in a territory battle, the old resident male(s) is either chased away after a scuffle or killed: after this, the new resident male(s) kills off all the cubs conceived between the lionesses and former resident male(s)(infanticide). This will put the lionesses back into oestrus and the new resident male(s) will sire their own cubs),





Raised In the Pride

For the first two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years I would be mothered, nurtured, I would learn to fight during games of play fighting with the other kids, and I would learn how to hunt -- at birth, my mom would take my siblings and me away from our family -- then in a few weeks she would reintroduce herself and then us to the rest of the pride. It's important to be separated from the rest of my family at first; because if we are too young my father might kill us (instinct). During my time of growing up it would be important to grow bonds with the other boys in the family. The closer I got to my brothers and/or cousins, the more likely I would be to survive in the bush. And this is because between the ages of two-and-a-half and three-and-a-half I would have been pushed out by the rest of the pride -- and this would be led, for the most part, by my father. Getting kicked out of the pride before sexual maturity keeps things balanced. The pride doesn't need some four-legged walking hormone blinded by the smell of one of his female family members in heat (incest is bad).

Kicked Out And Becoming A Nomad

Hopefully I learned how to be an efficient and effective hunter by watching my elders, as well as the hands on training I experienced while still a resident and under the care of my elders. With luck, those bonds I made with my siblings would have possibly left me with at least one or two other strong male sub-adult lions to assist me in surviving the wild, for the rest of my life (my sisters would have stayed with my mom, aunts, uncles, and dad -- lionesses do most of the hunting and the more lionesses there are, the more successful the hunt will be).

As a nomad (belonging to no pride, a loner -- except for the company of other nomads), possibly accompanied by siblings, the goal is to find a territory. A home that I/we can call my/our own. In order to do that I/we would have to find a pride, I/we would need to fight off or kill the resident male(s), and then I/we would have to kill the cubs. Scuffles could ensue between the lionesses and the newcomers (me) during the infanticide proceedings. A mother will always protect her babies.

There are two ways a nomad would find another pride if that said challenger was ready to overthrow a resident male(s):

1. Listen for the roars of the lion that is currently occupying the territory; a lions roar will pinpoint exactly where he is (roars are also a means of communicating with family but, the importance of the roar is -- it's the first line of defense. When a lion roars for his territory he means to tell the other lions that they are about to walk on occupied land; this will hopefully prevent violence by turning the mistaken intruder(s) around. Which would definitely happen if the other lion doesn't heed the resident males calls).

2. There is a process called the "flehmen response": the lion has an organ located in the mouth that pics up a scent and will help track where that scent is coming from. The lion takes that smell into his/her mouth, and the the smell is remembered. This process is repeated until whatever the lion is tracking is found. During this process the lion grimaces (flehmen is also a way to tell whether or not a lioness is oestrus by taking in the smell of her urine -- lions aren't the only animals that practices flehmen http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flehmen_response).

Hopefully, once this family of lions is tracked, the affair would be short and swift. The quicker the violence is over, the quicker the new family will begin. But, let's not get ahead of myself here. Before anything, I would have to find that pride of lions first.

A Very Social Cat

Lions are very social animals, once a male settles into a pride he will be with that pride until his timely death, or another lion overthrows him, lions greet each other by nuzzling and cleaning each other, they play, and they sleep side by side one another. A male lions job is not easy. He has been labeled lazy by many, that the women do ALL the hunting, that they just lounge around, and that they are useless compared to the lionesses. This is not true, they defend their territory, pride and kids from other lions, rival predators such as hyenas, and they do help in the hunt when the animal is too big for the rest of the pride (giraffe, hippo, and sometimes buffalo). And remember, when the male lion was a nomad he had to hunt for himself, male lions have been known to take down buffalo all by themselves.

If I was a lion, life would be rough but there's a chance that I wouldn't be alone. Lions are my favorite animals of all time because of how social they are, they are also very beautiful and majestic. They don't just occupy an area, they rule it.

ROARRR!

More sources of info: http://www.lions.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lion

Picture and information source: http://www.pantherkut.com/2007/03/07/lions-social-behavior/

Picture Source: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/photos/big-cat-cubs/

Picture Source: http://lion-picture.blogspot.com/

Picture Source: http://www.becomeaphotographer.org/category/uncategorized

Tags

Africa, Buffalo, Coalition, Cubs, Flehmen, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Hunt, Infanticide, Life, Lion, Lioness, Oestrus, Social, Territory

Meet the author

author avatar C.T. Aretz
I lived In Chicago for ten years (moved back to Boston recently), where I started writing... 35 was when I found my new love. Writing is my existence--my everything-a tool for success & happiness.

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Comments

author avatar Nadia Zahar
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Lions are fascinating, never heard of the flehmen response before, not surprising cuz animals are not really my area, pretty interesting analogy you've got here :)

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author avatar C.T. Aretz
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Thank you... :-)

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author avatar promulgatorGodown
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Considering the life which the youth of this times are living, it quite appalling , their aspiration never shake me, but what astonish me is their dreams. Their dreams are immensely wonderful and and enough to receive appreciaton from this generation and generation to come, but the question which they don’t care about is this “ how do you intend to achieve it” this is what they have left out in their plans which has keep many adult in poverty. Thinking that the future is a place of comfort which is wrong the future is a personality either in comfort or not, your future is you.Looking at the future from the point view of a time instead of a personality, doing this won’t help you achieve your dream but will only demolish it.

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author avatar C.T. Aretz
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Interesting.

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author avatar John Mario
27th Jun 2012 (#)

Excellent well written article. Thanks for sharing.

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author avatar C.T. Aretz
27th Jun 2012 (#)

:-)

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author avatar Denise O
27th Jun 2012 (#)

A very entertaining article. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar C.T. Aretz
4th Jul 2012 (#)

I'm really glad you enjoyed it Dennis. Thank you for reading my article... :-)

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