Lions will live in a group called a pride. The pride size will range from 3-30 individuals.
A lion will mature at about 2 years old. Lions will breed throughout the year. The gestation period is about 110 days and the lioness will give birth to 3-4 cubs. The cubs are born helpless and blind. Their coats are spotted. They will exclusively live off of their mother's milk for 2 months and then will start eating the prey that their mother kills. At about 6 weeks, the cubs will leave the den and accompany their mother on hunts. This starts their learning process on how to hunt. The cubs do depend on their mother for food until they start hunting on their own at about 11 months. But they do not have the adult teeth to be able to tear meat. So they still rely on mom. The cub will start killing small prey when it is about 15 months old. But they will still stay with their mother for at least 2 years. AT which time, their mother is pregnant again and the young males will be driven out by the dominant male and the young females may stay with the pride. Cub mortality rate is 80% will not make it to the age of 2 years old. The male lions do not help in raising the cubs. If a male takes over a new pride, he may kill all the cubs from the old male.
In captivity, lions will breed with other species of cats. A Liger is a male lion bred to a female tiger. The liger is the largest cat in the world. They can grow to about 11 feet in length. A Tiglon is a male tiger bred to a female lion. The tiglon is a smaller cat than the lion or tiger. Another hybrid that is uncommon is the Leopon. This is a hybrid of a male leopard bred into a female lion. The leopon is slightly larger than a leopard. There is documentation of these hybrid happening in the wild but the numbers are low.
8 subspecies of lions are recognized today. They are the African lion West Africa lion (Panthera leo senegalensis), East Africa lion (Panthera leo nubica), Northeast Congo lion (Panthera leo azandica), Southwest Africa lion (Panthera leo bleyenberghi), Southeast Africa lion (Panthera leo krugeri), Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), and 2 extinct ones are the Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) that was last seen in the 1920’s and the Cape lion (Panthera leo melanochaitus) that was last seen in the 1860’s. Prehistoric lion species are American lion (Panthera leo atrox), European Cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea) and the Early Middle Pleistocene European cave lion (Panthera leo fossilis)