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Modern Weights and Measurements of Wild Lions

United States Pckts Offline
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(01-18-2018, 01:13 AM)tigerluver Wrote: It looks like the Hpl-9 244 kg male may only be 3-4 years old. Even if we assume 10-20 kg of bait that won't be assimilated to maintain his frame, he's probably going to hit the 240 kg mark in a few years comfortably. Might be another one for the modern record books.

Compare him to Volkel

Canine Size (mm)
HP-L Male
Volkel
Hpl-2 Male
Volkel
45 Left Upper 
45 Left Lower
60 Right Upper
50 Right Lower 


Hpl-9 Male
Mansa
53 LU
42 LL
55 RU
44 RL


Body Measurements (cm)
Volkel 
118 Shoulder 
49 Head Length
-  Head Circumference 
41 Neck Length
- Neck Cir. Top
- Neck Cir. Base
148 Girth
138 Body Length (base of neck to base of tail)

89 Tail Length

Manas
111 Shoulder
46 Head Length
86 Head Circ.
27.5 Neck Length
70 Neck Cir. Top
77 Neck Cir. Base
136 Girth
124 Body Length
95 Tail Length


All signs point towards Volkel being a 260kg lion.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
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United States TheLioness Offline
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Yes hpl-9 still has pink on his nose, will get a little bigger as he matures a little more. Hopefully volkel will be weighed in the future. Not all the lions studied attack the cattle, they do travel in and out of the farms. Cattle are easy picking but I would assume death awaits any lion that takes livestock. A few have died recently. They do have a Facebook and I have messaged them about anymore data and weights.
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United States Pckts Offline
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These lions are substantial livestock killers, but that is to be expected with such easy access and irresponsible farmers.  They have seem to avoided most retaliation outside of 1 cub and two sub adult females, but most lions aren't that lucky, the Africat project does a good job of informing farmers of lions with in their boundaries. 

Livestock Predation 
March 2014-March 2015

Livestock 24
(incl 20 cattle, 3 horses + 1 donkey)


 
 
 
 
Livestock Predation 
March 2015-March 2016
 
Livestock 42
(incl 33 cattle,  9 donkeys)


Their fb page is good, I've posted a few lions from there on here as well.
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United States TheLioness Offline
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To be honest about if the cows are the reason behind the larger weights, those cows look to have a lot less meat than the zebras they hunt. What I've read seems most of the cattle killed are mainly by mothers with cubs. Either way it can contribute to their bigger sizes, however we know there are large lions in other areas that don't feed on cattle. Just my thoughts. 

Two young nomad lions
The lioness has rejoined her cub, and all is right in the jungle.
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-18-2018, 06:51 AM by Pckts )

I don’t think cattle killers necessarily have larger weights, cattle like all other prey isn’t a constant and any animal that kills too many will be dealt with unfortunately. Being baited is the only thing that should be noted imo.
"Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not, and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is."
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United States TheLioness Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-18-2018, 07:19 AM by TheLioness )

Agreed hope you have been well and I'm happy to see the adventures you've been on.

Young male, you can check out the picture of the lion on his instgram 

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India Rishi Offline
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@TheLioness It's good to see this thread active.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-19-2018, 02:13 PM by peter )

LIONESS

Interesting site and info. Many thanks. I knew Kalahari and Etosha lions were large, but I was surprised at the Namibian averages. 

This post has a few tables with measurements of wild lions and wild tigers. They can be compared, as both (lions and tigers) were measured in the same way ('over curves'). I'll start with Namibian lions.   

A - LENGTH, BODY DIMENSIONS, UPPER CANINE LENGTH AND WEIGHT OF 6 MALE AND 5 FEMALE LIONS IN NORTHERN NAMIBIA


*This image is copyright of its original author


B - EXCEPTIONAL INDIVIDUALS
 
Two individuals deserve special attention. The first is ♂ 10, known as 'Leo'. This young adult has a shoulder height of 145 cm. (...), a head and body length of 247 cm. (...) and a total length of 335 cm. (11 feet exactly). Exceptional, as he still has a bit of growing to do.

Lioness 'Spots' is even more exceptional, as she is 317 cm. in total length. I never heard of a female cat exceeding 10 feet in total length measured 'over curves'. The average of the Namibian females (just over 9 feet in total length measured 'over curves') is even more impressive than that of the males. A pity only 5 females were measured.     

C - ON THE METHOD USED TO MEASURE A BIG CAT

A big cat, just like a human, should be measured 'between pegs' (in a straight line). For some reason, this method seems to be out of date. Most biologists now measure wild big cats 'over curves'. This method can be applied in different ways, resulting in confusion. For this reason, it was severely discussed in the thread 'On The Edge Of Extinction - A - The Tiger' about a year ago. 

Poster 'WaveRiders' in particular had severe doubts about the way this method was applied in Nepal a century ago. The tables I posted had a number of male tigers ranging between 10.6 - 10.9 in total length 'over curves'. One wonders about his opinion on the 11 feet Namibian lion. Anyhow.

D - ETOSHA LIONS COMPARED TO COOCH BEHAR AND NEPAL TIGERS

The 6 Namibian males averaged 297,4 cm. in total length 'over curves', or just over 9.9. One inch longer than the famous Cooch Behar tigers shot in northeastern India more than a century ago (males measured in the same way), that is. In chest girth, the Namibians also slightly exceeded the Cooch Behar tigers. Same for weight (484 vs. 461 pounds). 

As to the effect of sample size. The 3 male lions in the table averaged 219 kg. (484 pounds). They were 23 pounds heavier than the Cooch Behar tigers, that is. Apart from these 3 weights, I found 6 more. As some had been weighed more than once, I used the average of all attemps. These 6 males (203, 208, 180, 210, 185,71 and 177,33 kg.) averaged exactly 194 kg. If we add the 3 males in the table, the average for all (9 males) is 202,34 kg. (just over 446 pounds), as opposed to 461 for the Cooch Behar male tigers. 

I don't know if all Namibians were baited, but chances are that quite many were. There is a conflict between ranchers and lions in northern Namibia. It was one of the reasons the project was started. Of the 53 Cooch Behar tigers weighed, 7 were loaded with beef. All in all, I'd say that the Cooch Behar sample is more reliable in this respect.

It's more difficult to compare the 6 Namibians to the 66 Nepal tigers shot before World War Two. The reason is that the Nepal tigers, apart from one exceptional male of 10.9 and 705 pounds, were not weighed. All I can say is that the Nepal males were a few inches longer.

Here's a table with measurements and weights of 131 male Indian tigers and 66 male Nepal tigers shot in the period 1869-1939 for comparison: 


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E - PERSPECTIVE

e1 - Males

Based on what I have, I'd say that the Namibians top the list for length (in lions). I also think they're taller than anywhere else. I'm not that sure about weight, as we need to know a bit more about the Crater. If Packer says Crater lions are big, they're big. The problem we don't know how big.

As to exceptional individuals in lions. It's well-known that very large individuals can be found nearly anywhere. The longest skull I measured (408,00 mm. in greatest total length) was from a lion captured in what's now Ethiopia. I have one record of a male lion of 10.2 in total length measured 'between pegs'. The second longest is 9.10.

The longest measured in Namibia is 11 feet in total length measured 'over curves' (...). If we deduct 6-7 inches, he would be 10.5-10.6 in total length 'between pegs'. This means he compares to the giant tiger shot by Hasinger in northern India in the late sixties of the last century. This tiger was 11.1 in total length 'over curves' and 10.7 'between pegs'. The giant male in South Africa Stephenson Hamilton was after ('Tshokwane') a century ago could have compared, but that's just speculation.

Looking at the averages, the conclusion for now is that Nepal male tigers top the list for total length 'over curves'. I think they also top the list for weight. Northern India (including Bhutan) could be second. In the table above, 33 males shot in northern India averaged 298,18 cm. in total length. In weight (444,46 pounds), they compared to the Namibian lions (446 pounds), but my take is the Indians were heavier. The reason is that many large males were not weighed (see the liner notes in the table above). Cooch Behar male tigers more or less compare to Namibian male lions, but the Cooch Behar sample is more reliable. For now, I'd say that the Namibians are fourth, just ahead of the Amur tigers, but we have to add that the Amur sample, which included 3-year old males and a few 'problem tigers', is a bit feable as well.

Based on the averages we have, I'd say that wild male tigers of large subspecies seem a bit longer than the longest lions (2-4 inches). In the department of exceptional individuals, however, the difference seems to be very limited. The main difference is that male tigers reach, say, ten feet 'over curves' more often than male lions. Remarkable, considering the total number of tigers and lions. 

In weight, the difference seems to be more outspoken. If we ignore the exceptional Amur tigers well exceeding 700 pounds shot in the 19th century (not accepted by authorities), the 10.9 and 705-pound Nepal tiger tops the list for now. The heaviest wild male lion is the Kenian lion shot and weighed by De Kock. This exceptional male was about 600 pounds and also had a very large and robust skull.  

e2 - Females

The average of the 5 Namibian females is exceptional in all departments. Here's a table with averages of Indian and Nepal tigresses for comparison:


*This image is copyright of its original author


Not Nepal or Indian tigresses, but wild Amur tigresses, at 274 cm. in total length measured 'over curves', top the table for tigresses. The Namibian lionesses, at 274,6 cm., are a trifle longer than Amur tigresses. The weight table is topped by Cooch Behar tigresses (310 pounds). Although shorter, they were, and still are, more robust than tigresses from other regions. Compared to the 5 Namibian lionesses (320 pounds), however, they lack 10 pounds. 

We can compare both tables to a degree, but there are two problems.

One is sample size. One can't compare the average of a small sample with the average of a large sample. The reason is the considerable amount of individual variation in big cats. A large sample, even in a region known for large individuals, has large and small animals. The effects of small or large individuals will disappear if the sample is large enough. If the sample is small and has a giant or a dwarf, these exceptions will have a considerable effect on the average. Have another look at the lion table above. Male no. 5, an adult, is much smaller than the others. Without him, the average length of the 5 others is not 297,4 cm., but 307,7 cm., a difference of 4 inches.   

Another problem is that (most of) the Cooch Behar tigresses (we returned to females) hunted wild animals, whereas the Namibian lionesses, forced by conditions, thrive on cattle. Although some think that the effect of this way of life is limited, it most certainly isn't. Bears and big cats living on lots of protein all year every year not only are much heavier than their relatives going for berries (bears) or small prey animals (tigers), but also larger and I mean larger.

Quality isn't the only factor affecting size. The amount of food also has an effect. Humans today eat a lot of crap, but they eat lots of it. The days of starvation are all but over, that is. The result is that humans are bigger, and larger, than a century ago. Same for other mammals, like big cats.

Africa and India have long been a paradise for animals. Tigers of large subspecies were and are a bit longer and heavier than lions also living in food hotspots. The reason is that tigers don't have to share. If you live in a food hotspot and don't have to share, chances are the averages will be a bit more impressive in the long run. Today, most Indian tigers live in small, but well-stocked, reserves. As a result, they thrive. If we add competition, chances are only the fittest will survive. There are no good samples, but I'm quite sure that Indian tigers today are a bit bigger, and larger, than a century ago. In some regions, the average of territorial adult males most probably is very close to, or even over, 500 pounds. 

For indirect proof regarding the effect of food, we need to visit Russia and Manchuria. A century and a half ago, this region was thinly populated, densely forested and well-stocked. The result was large tigers. In the 20th century, hunters discovered this new paradise. It didn't take them very long to finish it. After World War Two, there were 50 tigers left, meaby even less. As a result of protection, they made it to today, but the effect of habitat destruction, overshooting and a population bottleneck still is well visible. The Russian Far East no longer has many large herbivores. Tigers, for this reason, need enormous territories to make ends meet. The conditions are so difficult, that timber wolves, often faced with energy deficits, decided to call it a day. A century ago, very large packs were not uncommon in the Russian Far East. One of the reasons that hunters in the Russian Far East are willing to tolerate tigers today is that tigers limit the number of wolves. The days of very large tigers in the Russian Far East, however, are over. Not a result of genes (captive Amur tigers still are the largest big cats), but of conditions. Captive Amur tigers can get to their potential, whereas their wild relatives can not. Same for bears and big cats living in conditions were protein is no problem and hunters are not allowed. 

Lions living in northern Namibia thrive on cattle. The result is quite many large animals and impressive averages. Most of the animals weighed were baited, but they were big, and large, before they were baited for the reason stated.        

Sexual dimorphism in lions seems to be less outspoken than in tigers. The table above shows quite a bit of overlap between males and females. Lioness 'Muna' had the longest head (54 cm.) by a margin. In skull circumference (88 cm.), she also topped the average for males (83 cm.). Lioness 'Spots', at 317 cm. in total length, is the the longest female cat I know of. The average chest girth of the 5 lionesses would have been over 125 cm. if the immature lioness (no. 8) would have been removed from the table. This means that they would have averaged well over 150 kg. (351 pounds). 

The main differences between males and females were neck length (20,24%) and leg length (15%). In total length, the difference was well below 10%.   

F - TO CONCLUDE

It could be that some have a few doubts on the averages of the Namibians. I know the sample is small. I also know that most thrive on cattle. Their neighbours, however, also are large. Etosha lions are known for their size. Same for the Kalahari lions. One Kalahari male, although loaded, was 260 kg. 

What is large? Large is long, tall and robust (over 400 pounds). Compared to a human, a 203 kg. (448 pounds) male lion is a giant: 


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United States Stealthcat Offline
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I think that's interesting, why would the Nambibia lions be longer I mean how would that aid them in the desert, are there less large spotted hyena clans in the deserts?  From what I can see, is most lions are adapted specifically to be able to fight and kill hyenas in Africa, their bodies are specialized for this, many lions because of this have almost as if a similar design to the Hyena body.  Which I believe results in lions as a species being over all shorter than tigers, and certainly shorter per height and length. In other words, you could have a lion with a decent height, a weight of 500lbs or so, yet its body could be usually short in length for its weight and size. A tiger the same length, would likely be shorter at the shoulder and weigh less. As far as the cattle killing cats, I think for sure this increases their weights, several records show this, even some lions reaching 700 and 800lbs, the list of cattle killed was many.  The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-19-2018, 01:50 PM by peter )

(01-18-2018, 11:32 PM)Stealthcat Wrote: I think that's interesting, why would the Nambibia lions be longer I mean how would that aid them in the desert, are there less large spotted hyena clans in the deserts?  From what I can see, is most lions are adapted specifically to be able to fight and kill hyenas in Africa, their bodies are specialized for this, many lions because of this have almost as if a similar design to the Hyena body.  Which I believe results in lions as a species being over all shorter than tigers, and certainly shorter per height and length. In other words, you could have a lion with a decent height, a weight of 500lbs or so, yet its body could be usually short in length for its weight and size. A tiger the same length, would likely be shorter at the shoulder and weigh less. As far as the cattle killing cats, I think for sure this increases their weights, several records show this, even some lions reaching 700 and 800lbs, the list of cattle killed was many.  The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate.

Part of the answer is in post 23, of which paragraph E was edited. To keep it short: size seems to be to food. Lions in northern Namibia have access to a lot of food nearly all the time. They most probably know about the penalty (referring to measures of ranchers), but they don't seem to have a lot of options. If we add that Kalahari and Etosha lions without a nextdoor supermarket also are large, access to cattle can have an extra effect on size.

I don't know if lions living in desert-like regions are larger than lions living in other regions, but they seem to be longer and taller. Long legs no doubt enable them to move with more ease in difficult conditions. If you read the website of Africat, you will notice that lions in northern Namibia, in spite of the heat, are quite active. When the temperature is over 35 degrees Celcius, the Namibians rest. They seem to know how to deal with heat, that is. 

Big cats living in tough conditions seem to be longer and taller than elsewhere, but not heavier. Amur tigers need to be able to deal with long winters, severe cold and deep snow. They also need to walk a lot in order to contact prey animals. Desert lions seem to be more cursorial than lions living elsewhere as well. Both cats need to walk a lot to contact prey animals and both cats have long legs and a long body. Meaby a large body is the best response to both heat and cold. It enables Amur tigers to keep warm, provided they have a winter coat (long hair), and it could enable desert lions to deal with heat (provided they have summer coat). 

At the moment, the Namibians are larger than the Russians, but one has to remember that they have had access to a lot of food for quite some time. A century ago, the Russians also had access to food. Today, most male Amur tigers range between 360-460 pounds. A century ago, when the conditions in the Russian Far East were better, they averaged 475 pounds. If the access to cattle is cut short, male lions in Namibia most probably wouldn't average 203 kg. (446 pounds). Based on what I have, they could be similar to the Russians in similar conditions.

The assumption on size (lions heavier at equal length) is incorrect. At similar length, lions have slightly deeper chests and longer skulls, but not more weight. If anything, it is the other way round. Same for exceptional individuals: exceptional lions are almost as long as exceptional tigers, but not as heavy. One reason is that lions are more cursorial. Another is they have to share. Tigers are not heavier because of their length, but because they are a bit more muscular, especially in the leg department. Tigresses, like lionesses, seem to drive prey animals at times, but males are ambush hunters going for large animals. For them, developing means to quickly subdue large animals, like size, pays. For a social big cat, things are different.

In the past, lions were everywhere. They also were larger than today. The reason was more large prey animals everywhere. When these, as a result of climate change, disappeared in the Late Pleistocene, lions had to adapt. They did in that they lost size. In spite of that, they disappeared as well. Pleistocene tigers, like lions, also lost size, but not as much as in lions. The reason is that Asia still has a number of large herbivores. Large enough for a specialist to make a decent living.

Scavengers most probably do not affect the size of big cats. Male lions are more than big enough to engage any scavenger. In spite of that, they are displaced by hyenas at times. In lions and hyenas, it is about the combined weight. For this reason, lions need to operate in groups. Solitary big cats also face scavengers, but these do not operate in groups. Size is important, but in a one-on-one, agility and speed also count. So much so, that male Amur tigers are not often displaced by male brown bears. This in spite of a significant weight deficit.

My guess is that scavengers have little impact on the size of lions, provided they live in groups. For big cats living on plains, it is about seen and be seen. This is necessary to avoid conflict. The need for visibility resulted in long legs and a large skull with a mane. And a great voice. For solitary big cats, it is about not being seen.

Both cats are very territorial. The difference is that lions often (not when males are on their own) respond directly, whereas tigers use a different method to interact. They have to, as a one-on-one about property can have serious consequences.

The question regarding Namibian lions is why females in particular respond to more access to food. Could it be they do because they, more than male lions, compare to male tigers? Not sure about that one.
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Switzerland Spalea Offline
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@Stealthcat :

About your post #24: If I may so:

"The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate. "

You cannot compare the indian cattle (not the "domestic" gaurs) with the wild African buffalo (never domesticated). It's impossible...


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*This image is copyright of its original author



But if you want to consider wild bovids only: Asiatic buffalo and gaurs are bigger than African buffalo, that's a fact. On the other hand, perhaps African buffalo, living still in big herds have a reputation for being agressive (see ancient stories of explorers and hunters) that the other bovids haven't. To be confirmed... And I confess that the african buffalos, in my opinion, have the most impressive horns among all living wild bovids.

As concerns lions and tigers, by reading accounts and other accounts, in short, I must admit that the greatest tigers are greater than the greatest lions, the biggest tigers are bigger than the biggest lions. Not by much perhaps, but here is... And yes, as @peter says, at equal length the tiger is a little bit heavier.
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( This post was last modified: 01-19-2018, 02:51 PM by Rishi )

@Spalea Actually India is a huge place with over 100 different cattle breeds (semi/domesticated) of cows & buffalos & mithun/gayal ranging from 150 kg to over 1 tonne. From gentle animals to feisty ones bred to resist predators.

@Stealthcat Making such a generalised (& clearly ignorant) statement would be rather knaive.

I have previously written about them on several occasions in several contexts. I'm giving links to the ones i remember #92#354, & the next few posts after this #53 & #338.
Check those out to form an informed opinion.
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( This post was last modified: 01-19-2018, 11:01 PM by Stealthcat )

(01-19-2018, 10:59 AM)peter Wrote:
(01-18-2018, 11:32 PM)Stealthcat Wrote: I think that's interesting, why would the Nambibia lions be longer I mean how would that aid them in the desert, are there less large spotted hyena clans in the deserts?  From what I can see, is most lions are adapted specifically to be able to fight and kill hyenas in Africa, their bodies are specialized for this, many lions because of this have almost as if a similar design to the Hyena body.  Which I believe results in lions as a species being over all shorter than tigers, and certainly shorter per height and length. In other words, you could have a lion with a decent height, a weight of 500lbs or so, yet its body could be usually short in length for its weight and size. A tiger the same length, would likely be shorter at the shoulder and weigh less. As far as the cattle killing cats, I think for sure this increases their weights, several records show this, even some lions reaching 700 and 800lbs, the list of cattle killed was many.  The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate.

Part of the answer is in post 23, of which paragraph E was edited. To keep it short: size seems to be to food. Lions in northern Namibia have access to a lot of food nearly all the time. They most probably know about the penalty (referring to measures of ranchers), but they don't seem to have a lot of options. If we add that Kalahari and Etosha lions without a nextdoor supermarket also are large, access to cattle can have an extra effect on size.

I don't know if lions living in desert-like regions are larger than lions living in other regions, but they seem to be longer and taller. Long legs no doubt enable them to move with more ease in difficult conditions. If you read the website of Africat, you will notice that lions in northern Namibia, in spite of the heat, are quite active. When the temperature is over 35 degrees Celcius, the Namibians rest. They seem to know how to deal with heat, that is. 

Big cats living in tough conditions seem to be longer and taller than elsewhere, but not heavier. Amur tigers need to be able to deal with long winters, severe cold and deep snow. They also need to walk a lot in order to contact prey animals. Desert lions seem to be more cursorial than lions living elsewhere as well. Both cats need to walk a lot to contact prey animals and both cats have long legs and a long body. Meaby a large body is the best response to both heat and cold. It enables Amur tigers to keep warm, provided they have a winter coat (long hair), and it could enable desert lions to deal with heat (provided they have summer coat). 

At the moment, the Namibians are larger than the Russians, but one has to remember that they have had access to a lot of food for quite some time. A century ago, the Russians also had access to food. Today, most male Amur tigers range between 360-460 pounds. A century ago, when the conditions in the Russian Far East were better, they averaged 475 pounds. If the access to cattle is cut short, male lions in Namibia most probably wouldn't average 203 kg. (446 pounds). Based on what I have, they could be similar to the Russians in similar conditions.

The assumption on size (lions heavier at equal length) is incorrect. At similar length, lions have slightly deeper chests and longer skulls, but not more weight. If anything, it is the other way round. Same for exceptional individuals: exceptional lions are almost as long as exceptional tigers, but not as heavy. One reason is that lions are more cursorial. Another is they have to share. Tigers are not heavier because of their length, but because they are a bit more muscular, especially in the leg department. Tigresses, like lionesses, seem to drive prey animals at times, but males are ambush hunters going for large animals. For them, developing means to quickly subdue large animals, like size, pays. For a social big cat, things are different.

In the past, lions were everywhere. They also were larger than today. The reason was more large prey animals everywhere. When these, as a result of climate change, disappeared in the Late Pleistocene, lions had to adapt. They did in that they lost size. In spite of that, they disappeared as well. Pleistocene tigers, like lions, also lost size, but not as much as in lions. The reason is that Asia still has a number of large herbivores. Large enough for a specialist to make a decent living.

Scavengers most probably do not affect the size of big cats. Male lions are more than big enough to engage any scavenger. In spite of that, they are displaced by hyenas at times. In lions and hyenas, it is about the combined weight. For this reason, lions need to operate in groups. Solitary big cats also face scavengers, but these do not operate in groups. Size is important, but in a one-on-one, agility and speed also count. So much so, that male Amur tigers are not often displaced by male brown bears. This in spite of a significant weight deficit.

My guess is that scavengers have little impact on the size of lions, provided they live in groups. For big cats living on plains, it is about seen and be seen. This is necessary to avoid conflict. The need for visibility resulted in long legs and a large skull with a mane. And a great voice. For solitary big cats, it is about not being seen.

Both cats are very territorial. The difference is that lions often (not when males are on their own) respond directly, whereas tigers use a different method to interact. They have to, as a one-on-one about property can have serious consequences.

The question regarding Namibian lions is why females in particular respond to more access to food. Could it be they do because they, more than male lions, compare to male tigers? Not sure about that one.




I agree with you that the tiger is the most muscular big cat, at least in the arms, I'm not disputing that, they are supreme hunters and they need those muscles to catch hold of and grip the prey strongly, as well they need the extra spring in their step for the quick rush.  Deer and other prey like that are extremely fast, a solitary lion would have trouble catching them as he's not designed to catch such fast prey.  Many times a tiger will miss and not even be quick enough to catch a deer, or Indian antelope.   But here is where I differ, arms propel you forward to run or to trot, a muscular arm adds strength and can even help you jump.  The lion is not designed to catch deer like prey, they really aren't, but this does not mean they are any less strong overall.  Because the asset to assist in taking down large buffalo is extremely valuable, a large strongly built lion will have a much more easier time in toppling over a big buffalo than a weaker one, and this is the lions main prey source, they need to kill buffalo, and it gives them food for the whole pride. 

I would call Hyenas predators, lions actually will scavenge from them, a single male lion can have a hard time on his own vs a clan of hyenas, how is solitary tigress going to fair out in the open of Africa, how will a young tiger fair going off on his own.  A clan of hyenas can run an entire pride of lionesses and young lions off a kill. They are extremely smart attack in organized ways and are tireless.  Big cats have the poor endurance in comparison, its not even close, honestly male lions have to even bluff to keep them at bay. 

If you look at clips where do hyenas attack lions, often the rear, they distract them in the front then others quickly attack behind.  Other lions often attack the rear of lions.  All these battles are mostly out in the open.  If you look at the hyenas design, it has very shortened rear quarters, the reason why is to protect it and to lesson the possibly damage of rear attacks from lions and hyenas.  By the same token its to me obvious, this is why so many lions have a shortened frame, with very small rear quarters. If a hyena is designed like this for this purpose, and they live along side lions their main competitor it only makes sense the lion would also be designed like this for this purpose. 

There is data and I'd have to find it but I do recall seeing it, the lions have the denser bones out of any big cat, but I'm not sure if this includes the forearm bones, it seems there is some information that might show the forearm bones were thicker on tigers, I'm not sure and it would have to be tracked down, if anyone has it please post it. 

But with that said, you have to ask yourself how much more muscular is a tiger in the arms than a lion, how much weight does this account for?  Because the lion is also capable of being stronger and heavier in other areas that can account for larger masses which would weigh more.  The chest, shoulders, back and stomach, are all capable of being heavier and more muscular on a lion, that can potentially account for more weight. In the wild maybe you're right, lions may not weigh as much as tigers at equal heights same lengths, but I'd like to see that proof.  The reason could be the un even food distribution between them, lions fight for food at the kills, older pride members get the bigger portions and grow to be a healthier size in the long run.  Yet if you feed a lion in captivity an even amount for its whole upbringing the tiger the same, the lion can end up weighing more.  And there is proof of this, and in particular some notable sources that I'm trying to retrieve, which includes a comparison of the lion and tiger in an Italian Encyclopedia from 1977.The Italian Encyclopedia is "La vita degli animali selcatci" translated "Life of wild animals"  There is some remarkable information in this in comparing the lion and tiger by top experts and zoologist including Schaller. It is in this book, that they state overall the lion does have a superior muscle mass over its whole body, as well it states the tiger has added fat storage in its abdomen.  The problem is its very difficult to purchase this book, so I'm working on contacting an expert and hopefully get some screen pics to translate.

Ok just found it, I'm not totally clear what this is saying, the lion bones are the most robust, but it appears this is saying the forearm bones of the tiger are thicker, any thoughts?



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(01-19-2018, 01:25 PM)Spalea Wrote: @Stealthcat :

About your post #24: If I may so:

"The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate. "

You cannot compare the indian cattle (not the "domestic" gaurs) with the wild African buffalo (never domesticated). It's impossible...


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*This image is copyright of its original author



But if you want to consider wild bovids only: Asiatic buffalo and gaurs are bigger than African buffalo, that's a fact. On the other hand, perhaps African buffalo, living still in big herds have a reputation for being agressive (see ancient stories of explorers and hunters) that the other bovids haven't. To be confirmed... And I confess that the african buffalos, in my opinion, have the most impressive horns among all living wild bovids.

As concerns lions and tigers, by reading accounts and other accounts, in short, I must admit that the greatest tigers are greater than the greatest lions, the biggest tigers are bigger than the biggest lions. Not by much perhaps, but here is... And yes, as @peter says, at equal length the tiger is a little bit heavier.



Yes but you have to compare the size that is attacked, lions are routinely hunting larger prey by habit, a male lion is designed for endurance and fighting, as well as taking down larger prey.  So it by habit learns to be unafraid of larger animals.  From birth it fights over sized opponents, you can't discount this experience, our environments early on shape us to be who we are, this coupled with the natural selection would be even stronger.  Young lions have experience assisting the pride in attacking adult buffalo, a younger tiger does not.  Yes there is help, but again it doesn't discount this valuable experience having to avoid the deadly horns of the buffalo and even attack it head on trying to suffocate its mouth or hang on the neck, or rear.  The young lion is exercising its jaws and muscles on this huge animal that it could otherwise never have the experience attacking if the rest of the pride wasn't there.  Later on, when the male lion is older, even without a pridemate or the pride, yet on his own, he will not hesitate to attack and try to bring down a good size buffalo.  Which does happen from time to time, and we have footage of this.  The tiger would be less likely to do so, as its not conditioned to do so, and it only has to feed itself, its faster, and it can easily and more likely expend less energy, be in less danger to catch a smaller but yes quicker prey. 

So yes while there may be some large qaurs, you have to look at the whole anatomy, do the tigers attack such larger gaurs on a regular basis, I don't think so, and do the guars have the same robust neck muscles that an African Buffalo has?  I have not seen that, and it is said the African buffalo is the most aggressive species. 
I had recently seen a clip were an Asiatic lion killed a larger cow near the locals houses, it feasted on the cow right in front of them while they watched, this was a lot of food.  Regardless of comparing wild cows to buffalo, it is true many tigers have gotten to larger sizes and weights killing Indian cattle, and if you look at that cattle, yes the horns do go backwards, they have larger midsections providing much meat, and their necks are quite small and thin in proportion to other domestic cattle.  The result is going to be an easy meal, and a huge food source and potential to really hit a high weight.   I've seen this quite a few times on different nature docs, lions trying to put the death hold on the throat of an African buffalo, and the buffalo contracts its muscles and tendons in the neck prolonging its death, giving time for the rest of the buffalo to stampede back and rescue it.  I have never seen a gaur do that.
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(01-19-2018, 10:35 PM)Stealthcat Wrote:
(01-19-2018, 10:59 AM)peter Wrote:
(01-18-2018, 11:32 PM)Stealthcat Wrote: I think that's interesting, why would the Nambibia lions be longer I mean how would that aid them in the desert, are there less large spotted hyena clans in the deserts?  From what I can see, is most lions are adapted specifically to be able to fight and kill hyenas in Africa, their bodies are specialized for this, many lions because of this have almost as if a similar design to the Hyena body.  Which I believe results in lions as a species being over all shorter than tigers, and certainly shorter per height and length. In other words, you could have a lion with a decent height, a weight of 500lbs or so, yet its body could be usually short in length for its weight and size. A tiger the same length, would likely be shorter at the shoulder and weigh less. As far as the cattle killing cats, I think for sure this increases their weights, several records show this, even some lions reaching 700 and 800lbs, the list of cattle killed was many.  The Indian cattle is also sometimes easier to kill, their cows are different, very heavy stomachs large with considerable mass in the mid section, yet very thin necks,  and the horns go backwards not forwards, so a large tiger could easily kill a huge Indian cattle with such small neck and throat area.   In contrast the African buffalo has a neck specially designed to resist the lions bite force, which it can contract the neck muscles and tendons like steel rods making it extremely hard to penetrate.

Part of the answer is in post 23, of which paragraph E was edited. To keep it short: size seems to be to food. Lions in northern Namibia have access to a lot of food nearly all the time. They most probably know about the penalty (referring to measures of ranchers), but they don't seem to have a lot of options. If we add that Kalahari and Etosha lions without a nextdoor supermarket also are large, access to cattle can have an extra effect on size.

I don't know if lions living in desert-like regions are larger than lions living in other regions, but they seem to be longer and taller. Long legs no doubt enable them to move with more ease in difficult conditions. If you read the website of Africat, you will notice that lions in northern Namibia, in spite of the heat, are quite active. When the temperature is over 35 degrees Celcius, the Namibians rest. They seem to know how to deal with heat, that is. 

Big cats living in tough conditions seem to be longer and taller than elsewhere, but not heavier. Amur tigers need to be able to deal with long winters, severe cold and deep snow. They also need to walk a lot in order to contact prey animals. Desert lions seem to be more cursorial than lions living elsewhere as well. Both cats need to walk a lot to contact prey animals and both cats have long legs and a long body. Meaby a large body is the best response to both heat and cold. It enables Amur tigers to keep warm, provided they have a winter coat (long hair), and it could enable desert lions to deal with heat (provided they have summer coat). 

At the moment, the Namibians are larger than the Russians, but one has to remember that they have had access to a lot of food for quite some time. A century ago, the Russians also had access to food. Today, most male Amur tigers range between 360-460 pounds. A century ago, when the conditions in the Russian Far East were better, they averaged 475 pounds. If the access to cattle is cut short, male lions in Namibia most probably wouldn't average 203 kg. (446 pounds). Based on what I have, they could be similar to the Russians in similar conditions.

The assumption on size (lions heavier at equal length) is incorrect. At similar length, lions have slightly deeper chests and longer skulls, but not more weight. If anything, it is the other way round. Same for exceptional individuals: exceptional lions are almost as long as exceptional tigers, but not as heavy. One reason is that lions are more cursorial. Another is they have to share. Tigers are not heavier because of their length, but because they are a bit more muscular, especially in the leg department. Tigresses, like lionesses, seem to drive prey animals at times, but males are ambush hunters going for large animals. For them, developing means to quickly subdue large animals, like size, pays. For a social big cat, things are different.

In the past, lions were everywhere. They also were larger than today. The reason was more large prey animals everywhere. When these, as a result of climate change, disappeared in the Late Pleistocene, lions had to adapt. They did in that they lost size. In spite of that, they disappeared as well. Pleistocene tigers, like lions, also lost size, but not as much as in lions. The reason is that Asia still has a number of large herbivores. Large enough for a specialist to make a decent living.

Scavengers most probably do not affect the size of big cats. Male lions are more than big enough to engage any scavenger. In spite of that, they are displaced by hyenas at times. In lions and hyenas, it is about the combined weight. For this reason, lions need to operate in groups. Solitary big cats also face scavengers, but these do not operate in groups. Size is important, but in a one-on-one, agility and speed also count. So much so, that male Amur tigers are not often displaced by male brown bears. This in spite of a significant weight deficit.

My guess is that scavengers have little impact on the size of lions, provided they live in groups. For big cats living on plains, it is about seen and be seen. This is necessary to avoid conflict. The need for visibility resulted in long legs and a large skull with a mane. And a great voice. For solitary big cats, it is about not being seen.

Both cats are very territorial. The difference is that lions often (not when males are on their own) respond directly, whereas tigers use a different method to interact. They have to, as a one-on-one about property can have serious consequences.

The question regarding Namibian lions is why females in particular respond to more access to food. Could it be they do because they, more than male lions, compare to male tigers? Not sure about that one.




I agree with you that the tiger is the most muscular big cat, at least in the arms, I'm not disputing that, they are supreme hunters and they need those muscles to catch hold of and grip the prey strongly, as well they need the extra spring in their step for the quick rush.  Deer and other prey like that are extremely fast, a solitary lion would have trouble catching them as he's not designed to catch such fast prey.  Many times a tiger will miss and not even be quick enough to catch a deer, or Indian antelope.   But here is where I differ, arms propel you forward to run or to trot, a muscular arm adds strength and can even help you jump.  The lion is not designed to catch deer like prey, they really aren't, but this does not mean they are any less strong overall.  Because the asset to assist in taking down large buffalo is extremely valuable, a large strongly built lion will have a much more easier time in toppling over a big buffalo than a weaker one, and this is the lions main prey source, they need to kill buffalo, and it gives them food for the whole pride. 

I would call Hyenas predators, lions actually will scavenge from them, a single male lion can have a hard time on his own vs a clan of hyenas, how is solitary tigress going to fair out in the open of Africa, how will a young tiger fair going off on his own.  A clan of hyenas can run an entire pride of lionesses and young lions off a kill. They are extremely smart attack in organized ways and are tireless.  Big cats have the poor endurance in comparison, its not even close, honestly male lions have to even bluff to keep them at bay. 

If you look at clips where do hyenas attack lions, often the rear, they distract them in the front then others quickly attack behind.  Other lions often attack the rear of lions.  All these battles are mostly out in the open.  If you look at the hyenas design, it has very shortened rear quarters, the reason why is to protect it and to lesson the possibly damage of rear attacks from lions and hyenas.  By the same token its to me obvious, this is why so many lions have a shortened frame, with very small rear quarters. If a hyena is designed like this for this purpose, and they live along side lions their main competitor it only makes sense the lion would also be designed like this for this purpose. 

There is data and I'd have to find it but I do recall seeing it, the lions have the denser bones out of any big cat, but I'm not sure if this includes the forearm bones, it seems there is some information that might show the forearm bones were thicker on tigers, I'm not sure and it would have to be tracked down, if anyone has it please post it. 

But with that said, you have to ask yourself how much more muscular is a tiger in the arms than a lion, how much weight does this account for?  Because the lion is also capable of being stronger and heavier in other areas that can account for larger masses which would weigh more.  The chest, shoulders, back and stomach, are all capable of being heavier and more muscular on a lion, that can potentially account for more weight. In the wild maybe you're right, lions may not weigh as much as tigers at equal heights same lengths, but I'd like to see that proof.  The reason could be the un even food distribution between them, lions fight for food at the kills, older pride members get the bigger portions and grow to be a healthier size in the long run.  Yet if you feed a lion in captivity an even amount for its whole upbringing the tiger the same, the lion can end up weighing more.  And there is proof of this, and in particular some notable sources that I'm trying to retrieve, which includes a comparison of the lion and tiger in an Italian Encyclopedia from 1977.The Italian Encyclopedia is "La vita degli animali selcatci" translated "Life of wild animals"  There is some remarkable information in this in comparing the lion and tiger by top experts and zoologist including Schaller. It is in this book, that they state overall the lion does have a superior muscle mass over its whole body, as well it states the tiger has added fat storage in its abdomen.  The problem is its very difficult to purchase this book, so I'm working on contacting an expert and hopefully get some screen pics to translate.

Ok just found it, I'm not totally clear what this is saying, the lion bones are the most robust, but it appears this is saying the forearm bones of the tiger are thicker, any thoughts?



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