Lions are Felines that appear in The Lion King universe. They serve as the main characters of the franchise, with the exception of The Lion King 1½ and The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa. They live in the Pride Lands and the Outlands.
In the Real World
Physically, lions are a tawny golden color and are the only cats whose sexes can be told apart at a distance. Males bare thick, shaggy manes of either blond, black, red, or brown, while lionesses are barren around the neck. Both sexes have a tail tuft, always black in color, though cubs are born without this tuft. Lion eyes are most commonly amber, but brown, green, and blue eyed lions have been observed. A male lion is roughly twice the weight of a female, at 420 pounds, while lionesses only weigh 290. Rarely, a pair of lions will give birth to a white lion. The age of a lion can be told by examining how dark its nose is.
In The Lion King universe
As far as looks go, lions in The Lion King universe are far more diverse. They range from gold, cream, tawny, tan, brown, and reddish-brown. Their eyes have a wide color range as well, including brown, red, orange, green, and blue. For Pride Lander lions, the males are usually portrayed as being bigger and more muscular than the lionesses and are also identifiable by their manes. They tend to have brightly-colored fur, often yellow or orange shades, with goldish undertones. Their manes are most often red or orange. However, the paintings of Scar's Lion Guard showed that they all had dark fur tones and brown manes, and another painting in The Lair of the Lion Guard depicted a Guard with black manes. The lionesses, meanwhile, are more slender, built for hunting and speed. They tend to have duller and/or paler colors than the males.
In the Real World
Lions live in different parts of Africa and Asia. They are the second largest big cat after the tiger. They spend around sixteen-twenty hours of their day sleeping and resting. A lion's roar can be heard from five miles away.
When lionesses come into heat, the male lion will indiscriminately mate with all of them to increase the chance of spreading his genes via offspring. Cubs may be born to different mothers or share a father if only one male is present. Cubs born in the same litter may also have different fathers, especially if the pride that they and their mother are a part of is dominated by more than one male. Even if the litter consists of only two cubs, there is still a chance that they may only be half-siblings, whether their mother mated with a rogue male in addition to the pride male or if the pride consists of two males and the mother mated with them both. Cubs practice their hunting skills by stalking each other. Like many cats, lions see well in the dark.
In The Lion King universe
The lions in the film series look and behave markedly different from actual lions. The Pridelanders are the main group of lions featured throughout the franchise, though other prides such as Malka's pride and the Outsiders have been lightly touched upon.
The Pridelanders operate in a monarchy system, where the firstborn child of the current ruler serves as the crown prince or princess. This child is anointed, then presented before the animals of the kingdom in a ceremony that occurs at dawn. Sometime after, the ruler-to-be is assigned a lion or lioness whom they will marry upon reaching adulthood, though this tradition appears to have been broken with Kiara.
Though hyenas are their sworn enemies and portrayed as such in most material, lions have been known to conspire with them. Scar maintained a friendship with hyenas from young adulthood to late adulthood, and both Kion and Kopa befriended a hyena, Jasiri and Asante respectively.
True to their species, lions have rival prides, as seen with the Outsiders and Pridelanders. Power can be stolen through usurpation, as seen with Scar and Simba. The lion Tanglemane was run out by a pair of rogues and lost his crown in the process.
Notable Lions in The Lion King & The Lion Guard
- Savage lion
- Simba's Pride
- The Bravest (Scar's Guard)
- The Fastest (Scar's Guard)
- In the first movie, hyenas take on both lions and lionesses. In reality, hyenas only mob lionesses if there is a three- or four-to-one advantage. However, male lions are avoided at all costs. Even if the hyenas outnumber a male twenty-to-one, the hyenas will give him a wide berth.
- According to the directors of The Lion King, male lions were given whiskers and females were without them during finalization because they were difficult to animate. This appears to have been continued in The Lion Guard, as Kion, Simba, Mufasa, Scar, Kovu, and Nuka are given whiskers while Nala, Kiara, Tiifu, Zuri, Vitani, Rani, and Zira do not have any.
- Lions are featured in the It's UnBungalievable shorts Who's Mightier? and Who's Louder?