African Lion - Panthera leo

Lions once lived in southern Europe, Africa, and parts of Asia. Today, however, they are confined mainly to the game reserves of Africa, with a few still living in the Gir Forest of India. For most visitors a safari has not been a success unless they have at least glimpsed a lion, but many tourists are disappointed by the lion's inactivity. Lions are unbelievably lazy creatures that spend up to twenty hours a day just lying around or sleeping. The other four or five hours they spend hunting or marking the borders of their territories.
An adult male can be 2.4 m long and weigh as much as 238 kg. The female is smaller and lacks the male's heavy mane. Lions live in open country, in groups known as prides, consisting of from 6 to 30 members headed by one or two mature males. They hunt co-operatively and, while the females are better hunters and do most of the work bringing down the prey, the males eat first, followed by the females, and lastly the cubs get their share. Lions prey mostly on hoofed animals, although they occasionally consume fallen fruit.

The initial charge of the lion only lasts for 50 to100 m, and if the target is quick enough to keep ahead of the predator for that distance, the lion usually abandons the attempt. Lions spend about 20 hours of each day doing absolutely nothing.