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AFRICAN CATS

About The Cats
LIONS

• The Latin name is Panthera leo.
 • There are five subspecies of lion: Angolan, Asiatic, Masai, Senegalese and Transvaal.
 • Lions range over large parts of Africa stretching from the southern part of the Sahara to South Africa. Asiatic lions exist in very small numbers in the Gir Forest in India. Lions mostly favor deserts or savanna woodlands and grasslands (such as the Masai Mara).
• Male lions can have a body length of eight feet (plus a tail as long as three feet) and can weigh 530 pounds. Females can be six feet in length and weigh 400 pounds. They are the second largest of the cat family (after tigers).
• Immature lions have a rosette pattern that fades as they mature. The male's mane can range from blond to reddish brown or black.
 • Lions eat a wide range of hoofed mammals, including zebras, antelopes, gazelles, wildebeests, warthogs, giraffes and buffalo, and occasionally rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and elephants. They will also eat smaller animals, including rodents, hares, reptiles and birds, and will often scavenge their food from cheetahs or wild dogs. Lionesses are responsible for the majority of the kills.
• Lions are the most social of all the cats and live in prides that can include from one to three male lions and from three to 30 females and their young.
• Lions can reach speeds of 50 miles per hour and leap 36 feet.
• Male lions live up to 12 years in the wild; females, 18 years.
• Their roar can be heard up to 5 miles away. Lions use their roar to call to each other, demarcate territory, warn off rivals and strengthen social bonds.
• Lions can eat 40 pounds of meat in a single sitting (equivalent to approximately 52 bowls of breakfast cereal).
• There are believed to be only 200 Asiatic lions remaining in the Gir Forest in India. There are no exact numbers for the number of individual lions occurring in Africa, although rough estimates range from 30,000 to 100,000 individuals.
• Each lion has a unique combination of whisker spots that can be used to identify individual animals. For the end credit song, filmmakers called on "American Idol” winner and platinum-selling recording artist Jordin Sparks to sing "The World I Knew,” which was written by hit songwriter/artist Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic). Walt Disney Records is doing its part to help Save the Savanna, donating 20 percent of net proceeds received from the sale of the Jordin Sparks single to the African Wildlife Foundation for each single sold between April 12, 2011, and April 12, 2012, with a maximum of $50,000 to be contributed to AWF.
• Food is shared by the whole pride, with adult males taking first pick, female second and finally the cubs. Lions will scavenge the kills of other predators and also eat the carcasses of animals that have died through natural causes.
• There is evidence to suggest that female lions prefer to mate with males with black manes.
• Lions have an elaborate greeting ceremony to re-establish bonds through touching and head-rubbing.
• The gestation period of a lion is three and a half months. The young remain dependant on their mother for two years after which time males may be ousted from the pride.
• Females will suckle their own cubs and other cubs from their pride.
• It's estimated that, in good conditions, about a third of cubs reach adulthood.
• Males are typically only able to maintain their dominance over a pride for two to three years before being replaced by another male.
• Lions are the apex predator on the savanna, but they are sometimes attacked by large packs of hyenas. Lion cubs are also vulnerable to attacks by hyenas and leopards.
• Large numbers of hyenas can sometimes chase lions from their kills.

CHEETAHS

• The Latin name is Acinonyx jubatus.
• There are two subspecies of cheetahs: African and Asiatic.
 • Cheetahs range over large areas of Africa and exist in small pockets in the Middle East. They live in savanna grasslands and dry forests.
• Cheetahs have a body length of about four feet and a tail of about 30 inches. Their average weight is 84 pounds for females and 95 pounds for males.
• Each cheetah's coat is unique, and individuals can be indentified by their pattern of spots. All cheetahs have a characteristic and conspicuous "tear stripe” running from the corner of their eyes.
• In Africa, cheetahs typically hunt medium-size antelope, Thomson's gazelles, warthogs and impala, as well as young wildebeests and smaller animals such as hares. Larger males or coalitions of males can take down larger prey such as adult wildebeests.
 • Cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world, with a top speed of 64 miles per hour, which can be maintained over a distance of about 985 to 1,300 feet.
 • Cheetahs are sometimes confused with leopards, but they are easily distinguished: Cheetahs have true spots while leopards have rosettes.
• Cheetahs can live to approximately 14 years.
• There are thought to be fewer than 12,000 cheetahs left in the wild.
• Nearly half of all litters are fathered by more than one adult male.
• Female cheetahs are solitary, but male cheetahs often form coalitions, numbering two or three individuals, usually with the other male members of their litter, and remain together for life. About a third of coalitions include unrelated males.
• Cheetahs can recognize each other's individual calls.
• Cheetahs regularly lose their kills to lions and hyenas. To guard against this, they eat very quickly and can consume 30 pounds of meat in one sitting.
• Once they have eaten, cheetahs can survive for up to five days without making another kill.
• Cheetahs' eyes are positioned in such a way to allow for binocular vision. It is thought that they can distinguish prey at a distance of three miles (a feat matched by the bald eagle but very few other animals).
• Gestation period for cheetahs is around 90 to 95 days, with an average litter size of four cubs. It's estimated that as few as five percent of young cheetahs survive beyond their first year.
• Coalitions of male cheetahs maintain and defend a territory of up to 14 square miles. Females have no set territory but range over areas that can be as big as 580 square miles. The size of a range varies according to the availability of prey.
• Cheetahs can't roar, but they make a chirping noise that can be heard a mile away.

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