The lion is the second largest felid, weighing up to 425 pounds, males being slightly larger than the females. Both have a rounded head and are powerfully built and have a uniformly colored coat. The males have a mane which begins to grow at the age of two which grows into long, thick hair by the age of five. The purpose of the mane is thought to make the lion look stronger and more fearsome, which seemingly has worked as the lion has always been a symbol of royalty and strength. The earthshaking roar of a lion can be heard up to five miles away, the loudest vocal sound created by any felid.
The lion is found in parts of Africa south of the Sahara desert. Lions are the most social of all the felids, and live in organized groups called prides which can hold four to forty members. The pride is made up of related lionesses and their cubs and one to six males which have fought their way into the pride. If a lion is killed by another lion trying to join the pride, the previous male's cubs will be killed to give way for the new dominant lion's offspring. When a female comes to realize her cubs are gone, she goes into estrus and mates with the new dominate male. The pride is very social, and they often lick and rub heads with each other. The males are the protectors of the pride, and the females are the hunters and take care of the cubs.