Lions vs elephants: the winner is not who you think

Symbols of courage and strength, African lions have always been admired. These iconic animals have powerful bodies – in the feline family, they are second in size to tigers – and their roars can be heard for 8 km around.

Males defend their clan’s territory by marking it with urine, uttering menacing roars to avoid intruders, and chasing animals that encroach on their territory.

Lionesses hunt for the clan. They often work together to prey on antelope, zebra, wildebeest, and other large open grassland animals. With many of these animals being faster than lions, teamwork pays off.

After the hunt, the collective effort often degenerates into bickering over the sharing of the prey, with the cubs finding themselves at the bottom of the hierarchy. Cubs do not help hunt until they are about a year old. Lions hunt alone if the opportunity arises, and they also steal prey from hyenas or wild dogs.

Groups of elephants are matriarchal, which means they are led by females. The matriarch is usually the tallest and oldest. She presides over a multigenerational herd that includes other females and their young. Adult males tend to roam alone, sometimes forming smaller, male-only groups.

Having a baby elephant is a serious commitment. The pregnancy of elephants is longer than that of any other mammal – almost 22 months. Female elephants generally give birth to a calf every two to four years. At birth, elephants already weigh around 90 kilograms and are about one meter tall.

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