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She's The Boss - Mating Lions

Updated: Dec 20, 2022

January 2022

Whilst on a wildlife safari game drive in Luangwa National Park Zambia, we observed a rate sighting of a lion and lioness mating close by. We managed to capture this extraordinary occurrence on video so that we could share this once in a lifetime experience with you!

To give you some insight about the mating behavior of these majestic big cats we made underneath blog.

Did you know?

Female lions will start mating when they are 2 years old and can breed until they are about 15 . Male lions will start mating when they are 3-4 years old, although it is unlikely that they will pass the prime of 6-7 years before dying. Young male lions are expelled from their pride just before they are old enough to mate, they will then live a nomadic live, until strong enough to fight themselves back into a pride. Sometimes they spend time with other males to work together while hunting, some males won't survive this period, others die in the fierce battles the have to held to fight themselves into a pride .

A pride is up to 15 lions big, with around 5 related females, their young and 2 or 3 males.

Are female lions stronger than males ?

Female lions are ruling the pride, they are the ones who hunt and protect the territory. Males come and go into the pride. Male lions will guard their females against other males who try to get their female away from him or into submission while mating.

The strongest male Lion (king) will mate with all females of the pride. They have the right to first mate with the females, but because they have to mate so many times they get exhausted and other males in the pride also get a chance. Though it is very unlikely young males who are not in their prime years will get to mate with any female lions. The number of females that can be mated by one male lion depends on the size of the territory that they control. A lion will have a territory that measures anywhere from 50 square kilometres to 200 square kilometres, equivalent to 15-50 miles in length.

When it comes time for mating, the male lion will often roar very loudly to let other lions know his intentions.

On of the best spots in Zambia to watch Lions is South Luangwa

How many times do lions mate ?

There is no specific lion mating season, but several females do seem to synchronize breeding to be able to raise cubs together as a family. Baby cubs drink even milk with different mums. When its mating time, a lion pair mates every 20–30 minutes, with up to 50 copulations per 24 hours. You would ask why do why do lions mate so many times ? The reason for this is the low fertility rate of Lions. Lion parents can mate up to 3000 times to have a cub. Besides that a female will not be in heat for longer than a week, which is why the male must mate with her right away. When she does go into heat, however, males from all around will know because of her scent marking and compete for the chance to reproduce with her.

What lions do when they mate

Mating between lions is an intense affair. A male lion may stroke the female with his tongue on the shoulder, neck or back to initiate. When lions mate, the male mounts the female from behind. Female lions might be aggressive because of the hormones released while mating. After mating a female lion often rolls on her back, a behavior scientist don't have a good explanation for.

The gestation period can last anywhere from 110 to 180 days. When a female is pregnant, she will hunt and bring food back for the male as well. This is because, during this time, he must protect both her and their cubs from other lions who would like nothing better than to make an easy meal out of them.

Lion cubs playing in South Luangwa

Once they give birth, the female will often go off on her own to protect her cubs from being killed by other animals, including the male lion she mated with. Taking care of the cubs takes so much time, they won't mate again until their cubs are over 2 years old. A cub can only tear meat after a year, and do his first kill after 15 months. By 2 all the male cubs will be driven off by the dominant male. Most of the expelled lions die within months.

So, while the males may get all the mating benefits, this is not true. Females can and do enjoy many of them as well.

Those were all of our Lions mating facts.

Would you like to experience a safari in Zambia and view lions in their natural habitat?

Will you be lucky enough to observe lion mating ? Book one of our Zambia safaris today to watch these majestic wild animals with Ntanda Ventures an award-winning local and women led safari company.

The highest change to meet a lion pride is in South Luangwa or #safari #wildlifesafari #africansafari #lioness #lions #wildlifephotography #zambiasafari

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