These kings of the jungle can weigh between 250 and 550 pounds, depending on sex and age and can grow up to be 14 years old in the wild and over the age of 20 years old in captivity. They become capable at hunting at the age of two and are fully grown after 5 or 6 years. Male lions are distinguishable for their impressive manes, which signifies their masculinity and reflects their health. The darker and thicker the mane, the healthier the lion. It allows the lions to appear stronger and frightening to warn off enemies, particularly humans, and appeals to lionesses that are scientifically proven to mate more with lions with thick and dark manes. Lions with no manes are either genetically inbred or have been castrated.
The legendary white lion was once thought to be a figment of one's imagination until less than fifty years ago, when white lion cubs were discovered. This is due a recessive gene and they are not albino as they do have pigmentation in vital parts such as they eye, paw and lip. Their condition is called leucism meaning they only have pigmentation loss in the skin and fur. There are less than fifty white lions in the world.
Some lions have been known to eat humans however this is thought to only have been done by those who are suffering injuries and disabilities that make it difficult for them to hunt natural prey thus pursuing humans as they are weaker and easier to capture. Several other theories include wanting to defend itself. Another is that their natural habitat is unavailable and not wanting to starve, they attack humans. The thought that lions are predatory towards humans has created ignorance and increased the amount of hunting by encouraging the extermination of these creatures. Humans have taken over territories once belonging to lions and by forcing them to leave their natural home has further demolished their habitat and lifestyle, leaving them to suffer and destruct. Lions are now listed as being a vulnerable species and their population is now irreversibly decreased.
Lions have a devised a system of living in groups called prides that's based around related females. The majority of the pride, consisting of approximately 15 individuals and can sometimes even reach 40 individuals, is female with only a handful of male. Male cubs eventually leave and typically become nomads before taking over their own group as the territorial male and father of all cubs. They only leave the pride when challenged by other males and are forced to leave or are killed. Nomads usually travel lone or in pairs, most of the time being related males. If a female nomad attempts to join a pride, it is usually very difficult as the other lionesses reject their intruder who is not related to them.