What is a Female Lion Called?


Have you ever wondered what a female lion is called? The king of the jungle is easily recognized, but what about the queen?

A female lion is called a lioness. Lionesses are the hunters of the pride. They work together cooperatively to take down prey many times their size. Although they are smaller than males, they are faster and more agile. Lionesses also tend to live longer than their male counterparts, at least 50% longer in the wild.

Lionesses give birth to cubs in litters of two to four. The entire pride helps to raise the cubs, with the lionesses doing most of the hunting and child rearing. The cubs stay with their mothers for two to three years before leaving the pride to start their own families.

Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. 

A pride is a group of lions that live, hunt, and mate together. A coalition is a group of male lions that team up to take over a pride. Coalitions are typically made up of brothers or related males.

Pride Structure and Social interactions

A pride of lions typically consists of 5 to 15 individuals, although prides as large as 30 have been observed. Usually, there are more females than males. The core of the pride consists of related females and their cubs, with one to three adult males closely related to the females. 

Male Lion Role in a Pride – Guarding and Territorialism

The primary role of male lions is to protect the pride’s territory from other lions and predators such as hyenas. Male lions mark their territory by spraying urine on bushes and trees. Male lions also patrol their territory regularly, chasing away any intruders. Males defend their pride against other male lions through fighting, which often results in injuries or death. Females will also fight to protect their cubs.

Female Lion Role in a Pride – Hunting and Foraging    

While male lions tend to be lazy and lounge around most of the day, female lions are constantly on the move, searching for food for themselves and their cubs. Female lions do most of the hunting within a pride; they work together in groups to stalk prey before finally taking it down. After a successful hunt, the males will eat first, followed by the lionesses feeding themselves first then the cubs eat. In addition to providing food for her pride, a female lion also keeps them safe from harm by finding shelter from predators and bad weather conditions such as heavy rain or extreme heat. Females will also use their bodies to shield cubs from danger.

Cub Mortality Rate     

 Most lion cubs do not survive to adulthood due to various risks such as disease, lack of food, getting killed by other animals, or being killed by adult male lions who want to mate with the females in the pride. Out of every litter of cubs born, only about 50% will survive past 2 years old.

What is a baby lion called?

A baby lion is also known as a Lionet or Whelp.

What is a group of baby lions called?

A group of baby lions is called a litter.


So there you have it! Now you know that a female lion is called a lioness. Lionesses are an important part of the pride and play a vital role in keeping their family fed and safe. Next time you see a photo of a lioness with her cubs, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your newfound knowledge!

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