Lions are some of the most majestic looking wild animals that have roamed the earth. Their slow, calculated movements and “I don’t give a damn” gaze are enough to have them named “The King of the Jungle (or Plains, in this case)”! That said, there is another factor that heavily contributes to their status as an emperor: The Mane. But are its uses just cosmetic? Let’s find out!
Here are 10 facts about the legendary black-maned lion:
- Generally speaking, the lions living in the colder climates have longer and darker manes.
- Lions with darker manes are more attractive to the lioness. Yes! It seems that Black as a “dress code” is not a fashion statement only in humans. Lioness like a rich and thick mane but love if it is flecked with some black! This, in turn, is connected to our next point…
- Black-maned male lions produce more testosterone than blonde-maned lions. So, you see, nature had gone out of its way to supply the black mane with more female attention.
- There is convincing evidence to suggest that cubs born to dark-mane lions have a better rate of survival than their blonde counterparts.
- Though the claim that a richer mane offers lions with better protection is contentious, comparative studies have revealed that in the areas populated by both types of lions, black manes end up sustaining fewer injuries. Also when the injuries themselves were compared, it was found that they were much less frequent around the mane area of thicker maned lions.
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- Bigger manes also help in fights! They appear more intimidating to the other lions because they naturally look larger, especially when puffed! And if they are black, well, their reputation precedes them.
- Black manes are indicative of a better diet and better health than any other colored mane. Studies have shown that a lion with a darker mane is getting better food and is at his prime with the ladies.
- Not all of the effects of a black mane are good, though. Dark colors trap more heat and are thicker, so lions with dark manes suffer more from heat than the other ones. The heat is trapped inside the manes making life miserable for them. Some lions even lessen their food intake because of this and travel and hunt only by night.
- Global warming trends show that this because of the sun getting more brutal, black manes might soon disappear as heat wearies it considerably. In fact, manes overall are getting thinner.
- The Barbary Lion of the Atlas Mountains and the Cape lion of South Africa are now more or less extinct. These are just two of the subspecies, there might be more to follow.
Bonus Point! A lion’s mane might even darken or lighten depending on the nourishment he has been getting! This can also be used to study the effects of the environment and environmental change.