Lions are in the cat family (Felidae) and are in the big cat genus (Panthera).
Lions are about four feet (1.2 meters) tall and can weigh up to 500 lbs (225 kg). Females are smaller than males. Lions can live 13 years in the wild and 20 in captivity.
Lions used to live in Western Europe and North Africa and the Middle East and Asia and a now extinct subspecies even lived in North and South America but now they live mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and a very few live in India. Lions live mostly in savannahs and grasslands.
They can kill big animals - even hippos and giraffes - but over half of their food comes from finding already dead animals.
Lions live in groups called “prides” generally consisting of five to ten females and two or three males. In the wild males often die young from wounds received battling other males. The female lions do most of the hunting and they work as a team. Lionesses (another name for female lions) can run up to 40 mph (60km/hr) but not for very long. They generally hunt by sneaking up on their victims. The male lion’s famous mane plays a role in attracting females. Manes that are darker and heavier show that the lion is healthy and lions with such manes are more attractive to females. Lions can survive four or five days without water!