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Modern Weights and Measurements of Wild Lions

United States TheLioness Offline
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I'm not sure if this is accurate or not but this site states they have relocated a lioness that was over 210 kg
http://idwalagamelodge.blogspot.com/2010...s.html?m=1
The lioness has rejoined her cub, and all is right in the jungle.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-20-2018, 10:49 AM by peter )

(01-20-2018, 09:31 AM)TheLioness Wrote: I'm not sure if this is accurate or not but this site states they have relocated a lioness that was over 210 kg
http://idwalagamelodge.blogspot.com/2010...s.html?m=1

Try to find out a bit more about the blog, the location and those involved in the project. If there was/is a project. 

She apparently was weighed in or before 2010. How was it done? Was a vet involved? Any pictures available? An official report? We need names.

If the lioness is wild (farm lions are larger than wild animals) and the report is accurate, it is a world record lioness by a margin. Again an exceptional female.

Try to find a new picture, as the one you posted is invisible on my screen. Good find again.
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United States TheLioness Offline
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Thanks I am trying to find out more as well on another female that is also stated at being over 200 kg. We shall see.
The lioness has rejoined her cub, and all is right in the jungle.
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India sanjay Offline
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@Stealthcat refrain yourself from discussing Lion vs Tiger.
WildFact does not allow this. Read the rules section. Such more posts may lead to ban
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-20-2018, 04:41 PM by peter )

(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?



*This image is copyright of its original author

HOW TO DEBATE

In order to debate, a clear topic, good information, accuracy, logic and sound arguments are needed. Detours are out. Same for preference and obsession.

As to topic. We're discussing the size of adult lions and tigers of large subspecies. Wild males. The information we have suggests that male tigers are a bit longer and heavier than male lions. The first question is if this conclusion is correct. The second question is why tigers are a tad larger. In order to get to good answers, we need good information, sound reasoning and accurate conclusions. 

As good information on the size of tigers and lions today is largely lacking, we have no option but to use information collected many decades ago, when hunting was legal and hunters usually measured and weighed the cats they shot. We also have to assume that they were both accurate and honest. Based on what I know, I'd say they were.  

The next step is accuracy. I said that the difference in weight between male lions from southwestern Africa and male tigers of India and Nepal of about similar length most probably is a result of more muscular limbs. You agreed on that one, but added that male lions are as strong, if not stronger, than male tigers. Not on topic, so out. 

So what do we have so far? We agreed on average size and weight (a) and on a possible explanation (b).

WHY TIGERS COULD BE HEAVIER THAN LIONS OF SIMILAR SIZE

Apart from more muscular limbs, there could be another factor: length. When I went over the info I have on wild Indian tigers, I noticed that long tigers were consistently heavier than shorter tigers. With 'length', I don't mean head and body length, but total length. Not seldom, a tiger with a head and body length of, say, 6.3 and a tail of, say, 3.3 turned out to be heavier than a tiger with a head and body length of 6.5 and a tail of 2.9. The first tiger was longer and heavier than the shorter tiger, although the shorter tiger had a longer body. Remarkable, as one would expect animals with longer bodies to be heavier. Not so. At least, not in tigers.

When I added the details, I found that most long tigers were mature or old animals. Based on what I know (referring to captive big cats), I'd say that cats of 7 years and older are 'denser' than younger animals. With 'denser', I mean they felt more solid. They also often were heavier. A mature cat carries more weight per inch.

Tigers seem to keep growing most of their life. They also get more dense. I did a bit of work and concluded that every inch added in total length resulted in 6-7 extra pounds. From 7 onward or so, male tigers added relatively more pounds than inches. This, I think, is why long tigers (referring to total length) could be heavier than short tigers. It isn't, therefore, about length, but about density. As density is related to age, it is about age in the end.

A century ago, tigers had more space. If an adult male with a territory today loses a fight, he can't go anywhere. Not in most of India. The reason is smallish reserves and many humans surrounding the reserves. For this reason, he often has no option but to go all-out. Hence the high number of fatalities in some reserves. A century ago, a male losing his territory had more options. If he was routed, he might get another chance elsewhere. This means that male tigers got more opportunities to reach old age back then. As old age often results in more length and weight, chances are that hunters also shot more old tigers. Today, a male reaching 12 in India is quite something. In Corbett's day, not a few reached 15. At least one of them, the Pipal Pani tiger, was in excellent health when he was shot at age 15.

Male lions live in prides in open country in most of Africa. A young male is kicked out at age 2 or so. In a place where every neighbourhood is occupied, he quickly has to find soulmates in order to survive. For some years, coalitions of young males can only use back alleys. If not, a beating could be the result. In between, they need to learn how to hunt. When they, or more accurate, if they, finally get a chance for a take-over, they have to act in a decisive way in order to breed. From then on, most of their energy is invested in defence. In most cases, males only rule for a few years. When they lose a battle, it's close to game over. For this reason, male lions seldom get to 10. In captivity, male lions often reach 15.

FACTORS AFFECTING SIZE

Size is partly related to access to food, but age also is a factor. Age is related to way of life, but vegetation also is important. Lions live in open country, meaning a long body is of no use. Long legs are. Same for a visible appearance, a long skull, a mane and a great voice. Compared to a tiger of similar weight, chances are a lion would be somewhat shorter and taller. This, however, isn't always the case. Desert lions may need long and tall bodies and lions living in elevated regions (Ethiopia) or forested regions (western Africa) often seem to be more stocky than elsewhere. Tigers living in open woodland are taller than elsewhere. Same for tigers faced with long winters, deep snow and few prey animals.

As a result of their way of life (solitary), tigers show more individual variation. In regions offering great opportunities to hunt large animals, they often grow to a large size. As they don't have to share, they, more than lions, can use this opportunity. Over time, this will result in a large average size. Lions also adapt, but not to the degree seen in tigers. The reason is lions are social animals. In most regions, they can't maintain large bodies. Not all year round year after year. Pleistocene lions, very large, could. Hence the size.

BONES

Based on what I saw and read, I agree in the bone department. For now, that is. Lions seem to have slightly longer and heavier bones than tigers, but the samples were small and I only saw skeletons of tigers of small subspecies. We need large samples including all subspecies in order to get to an opinion.

My hunch, however, is that tigers have relatively smaller bones. More than lions, they are professional big game hunters. True hunters need to cut on weight wherever possible. If strong bones are needed, length and weight are not the only options to get there. Curves and density might do the job and bones can be reinforced in some parts. 

I wonder if bone size and muscle size are related in big cats. In humans they are, but I'm not sure about big cats because we don't know how they use their muscles. A cat is a hunter that needs large muscles, not large and heavy bones. 

The Naples Natural History Museum had a skeleton of an adult wild male lion some years ago. Although solid all the way, it wasn't quite as robust as that of an adult male brown bear of similar size close by. Compared to the skeleton of the Naples male lion, the tiger skeletons I saw were not as solid. Bones were reinforced in some places (same in skulls), but my impression was they were more flexible. I have to add that I never saw a skeleton of an adult male Indian tiger of similar size.

Assuming that a lion could have a larger skeleton than a tiger of similar size, the question is why. The answer is interesting when we also know that a tiger usually has relatively more muscle mass (also an assumption).

You offered one explanation in that lions, more so than tigers, need to hunt large animals. As they hunt in groups, they don't need to be specialists. Hanging on and tiring the victim would do it, but that would take a lot more time and a body designed to withstand stress. Tigers, solitary cats also hunting large animals, need to be more agile, which would result in a more flexible body and skeleton. As they kill large animals on their own, tigers need tools to do so, especially up front. Hence the vaulted skull, the long canine and the larger fore-arms. This adaption no doubt has an effect on the bones.

Another reason why lions could have a more solid skeleton is genetics. Although Pleistocene tigers in northern China and Java also were very large, my guess is that Pleistocene lions were larger than all other cats (averages). Assuming they used a similar hunting strategy as lions today, they too needed relatively large bones. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they lost size but kept the original design.

In both scenarios, the need for a solid skeleton is clear. In the end, therefore, I would opt for the way they hunt. And not hyenas with short rears (...).

You suggested a direct connection between large bones and strength. I have serious doubts, as tigers of similar size as male lions, also hunting big game, didn't opt for large bones, but large muscles. As they, like lions, do well, the bone and strength theory seems to be out. Here's another explanation.

Solitary tigers, more so than lions, need to be able to adapt quickly to circumstances. Based on what I read, I'd say they only need a few generations to scale down or to upgrade. A flexible frame, therefore, would be very useful. If a tiger gets the opportunity to grow, it can. Although the design didn't change, they were able to hunt large animals and grow to a large size. Lions also adapted over time, but the way they hunt most probably isn't very different from Pleistocene lions. No need to adapt the design as well, that is.

All in all, I'd say that design is strongly related to hunting. Way of life also seems to be important. Solitary hunters need to be able to adapt more quickly than social hunters. If they can't, extinction is close. Solitary hunters ooze flexibility, whereas social hunters do not. The reason is they have more time.                
                 
HUNTING SKILLS

You said lions need to hunt large animals. True. You also suggested tigers are deer hunters. Also true, but to a degree. A male Indian or Nepal tiger didn't get to 10 feet and 500 pounds to hunt deer. Females with cubs hunt small animals, but males hunt large animals. And they start at an early age.
   
Corbett heard a 16-month male tiger fight a large buffalo in Kumaon. The fight lasted for some hours. When he visited the scene the next day, he found the buffalo and blood of the tiger, who had been wounded. The tiger never returned, but lived to a great age. In the Russian Far East, young tigers disperse at 18-22 months. At that age, they can kill a large male wild boar and defend their kill. Tiger 'Boris' had to fight at least two bears in order to keep his boar. Both bears were killed.

Tigers, if anything, seem to be more skilled in this respect and they also start at an early age. No skills is no future.

TO CONCLUDE

I know you like versus debates and I also know you will never quit trying. When I joined AVA, I participated to a degree. Not much fun, I thought. In fact, it resulted in a bad climate and total destruction. Over here, for that reason, versus debates are out. 

Here's a new perspective. My advice is to give it a try.

In the days that humans just started, animals ruled. Hunters were everywhere. Over time, some of them developed, whereas others disappeared. The cat family did very well. Their trick is flexibility. When the opportunity was there, they produced a number of large big game hunters. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they did. Until a few centuries ago, they were still everywhere. Every species occupied a niche and all did well.

Some cats evolved in open country, but most did not. The reason is they are ambush hunters. What they need, is cover. The two largest species are lions and tigers. While some of us discuss the outcome a hypothetical bout, the cats didn't. The reason is they occupied different landscapes. A tiger, as you said, wouldn't succeed in Africa. Not with lion prides and hyenas around. The reason is that cats don't like competitors. They will kill them at every possibility.

Lions prides wouldn't last long in densely forested regions. On their own, a lion would be at a disadvantage in a region that has tigers. The reason is that tigers, like lions in Africa, do not accept competition. If we add a lack of specific skills, knowledge and experience, the concluson is that lions have no future in forested regions that have tigers.

In the thirties of the last century, a Nepal ruler decided to free a number of captive African lions. One pair had to be shot, as they had turned to domestic animals and man. I never found anything about the fate of the others, but my guess is they met tigers. 

When asked about the outcome of a fight between wild animals (adult males), I slightly favour the tiger. The reason is that only the most able, when lucky, get to adulthood. Wild lions also select, but not at the level of individuals. In captivity, a lion could have a slight edge. One reason is that captive lions are able to get to their potential. A second is that they, like their wild relatives, usually live in small groups. Captive lions remain lions, that is. A third reason is that captive male tigers, unlike their wild relatives, were not tested. 

If there's one thing I noticed in fights between captive cats, it's the small margins. A lion beating a tiger on one day, might lose the next day. And the other way round. This also means that the outcome of a fight, to a degree, can be affected by outsiders. If conditions are created that will affect one more than the other, it will have an effect.

There's one thing you need to accept and that is that skill is an individual thing. That was the opinion of all trainers I interviewed and it also was the opinion of two directors of facilities. One of these had a training school and saw a lot more than all trainers combined. Lions and tigers both have a culture and a specific way to deal with conflict, but an all-out is very different from solving a problem with a neighbour. 

I read Beatty's books. Although I didn't agree with most of his appreciations, it can't be excluded that he could have had a point regarding fights. Meaby he really had great lions, but some of the people he employed had a very different opinion on the fights they saw. Same for the outcome. There's nothing wrong with preference, but one should never lose sight of the general picture and the essentials.  

And this was the last contribution in the department of lions, tigers and fights. Both cats are true miracles of evolution. One is involved in teamwork and the other opted for a different way of life. Both did and do very well in their niche and both are fascinating. Why not focus on the essentials of both cats? Could turn out to be very interesting.
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United States Stealthcat Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-21-2018, 05:19 AM by Stealthcat )

(01-20-2018, 04:37 PM)peter Wrote:
(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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HOW TO DEBATE

In order to debate, a clear topic, good information, accuracy, logic and sound arguments are needed. Detours are out. Same for preference and obsession.

As to topic. We're discussing the size of adult lions and tigers of large subspecies. Wild males. The information we have suggests that male tigers are a bit longer and heavier than male lions. The first question is if this conclusion is correct. The second question is why tigers are a tad larger. In order to get to good answers, we need good information, sound reasoning and accurate conclusions. 

As good information on the size of tigers and lions today is largely lacking, we have no option but to use information collected many decades ago, when hunting was legal and hunters usually measured and weighed the cats they shot. We also have to assume that they were both accurate and honest. Based on what I know, I'd say they were.  

The next step is accuracy. I said that the difference in weight between male lions from southwestern Africa and male tigers of India and Nepal of about similar length most probably is a result of more muscular limbs. You agreed on that one, but added that male lions are as strong, if not stronger, than male tigers. Not on topic, so out. 

So what do we have so far? We agreed on average size and weight (a) and on a possible explanation (b).

WHY TIGERS COULD BE HEAVIER THAN LIONS OF SIMILAR SIZE

Apart from more muscular limbs, there could be another factor: length. When I went over the info I have on wild Indian tigers, I noticed that long tigers were consistently heavier than shorter tigers. With 'length', I don't mean head and body length, but total length. Not seldom, a tiger with a head and body length of, say, 6.3 and a tail of, say, 3.3 turned out to be heavier than a tiger with a head and body length of 6.5 and a tail of 2.9. The first tiger was longer and heavier than the shorter tiger, although the shorter tiger had a longer body. Remarkable, as one would expect animals with longer bodies to be heavier. Not so. At least, not in tigers.

When I added the details, I found that most long tigers were mature or old animals. Based on what I know (referring to captive big cats), I'd say that cats of 7 years and older are 'denser' than younger animals. With 'denser', I mean they felt more solid. They also often were heavier. A mature cat carries more weight per inch.

Tigers seem to keep growing most of their life. They also get more dense. I did a bit of work and concluded that every inch added in total length resulted in 6-7 extra pounds. From 7 onward or so, male tigers added relatively more pounds than inches. This, I think, is why long tigers (referring to total length) could be heavier than short tigers. It isn't, therefore, about length, but about density. As density is related to age, it is about age in the end.

A century ago, tigers had more space. If an adult male with a territory today loses a fight, he can't go anywhere. Not in most of India. The reason is smallish reserves and many humans surrounding the reserves. For this reason, he often has no option but to go all-out. Hence the high number of fatalities in some reserves. A century ago, a male losing his territory had more options. If he was routed, he might get another chance elsewhere. This means that male tigers got more opportunities to reach old age back then. As old age often results in more length and weight, chances are that hunters also shot more old tigers. Today, a male reaching 12 in India is quite something. In Corbett's day, not a few reached 15. At least one of them, the Pipal Pani tiger, was in excellent health when he was shot at age 15.

Male lions live in prides in open country in most of Africa. A young male is kicked out at age 2 or so. In a place where every neighbourhood is occupied, he quickly has to find soulmates in order to survive. For some years, coalitions of young males can only use back alleys. If not, a beating could be the result. In between, they need to learn how to hunt. When they, or more accurate, if they, finally get a chance for a take-over, they have to act in a decisive way in order to breed. From then on, most of their energy is invested in defence. In most cases, males only rule for a few years. When they lose a battle, it's close to game over. For this reason, male lions seldom get to 10. In captivity, male lions often reach 15.

FACTORS AFFECTING SIZE

Size is partly related to access to food, but age also is a factor. Age is related to way of life, but vegetation also is important. Lions live in open country, meaning a long body is of no use. Long legs are. Same for a visible appearance, a long skull, a mane and a great voice. Compared to a tiger of similar weight, chances are a lion would be somewhat shorter and taller. This, however, isn't always the case. Desert lions may need long and tall bodies and lions living in elevated regions (Ethiopia) or forested regions (western Africa) often seem to be more stocky than elsewhere. Tigers living in open woodland are taller than elsewhere. Same for tigers faced with long winters, deep snow and few prey animals.

As a result of their way of life (solitary), tigers show more individual variation. In regions offering great opportunities to hunt large animals, they often grow to a large size. As they don't have to share, they, more than lions, can use this opportunity. Over time, this will result in a large average size. Lions also adapt, but not to the degree seen in tigers. The reason is lions are social animals. In most regions, they can't maintain large bodies. Not all year round year after year. Pleistocene lions, very large, could. Hence the size.

BONES

Based on what I saw and read, I agree in the bone department. For now, that is. Lions seem to have slightly longer and heavier bones than tigers, but the samples were small and I only saw skeletons of tigers of small subspecies. We need large samples including all subspecies in order to get to an opinion.

My hunch, however, is that tigers have relatively smaller bones. More than lions, they are professional big game hunters. True hunters need to cut on weight wherever possible. If strong bones are needed, length and weight are not the only options to get there. Curves and density might do the job and bones can be reinforced in some parts. 

I wonder if bone size and muscle size are related in big cats. In humans they are, but I'm not sure about big cats because we don't know how they use their muscles. A cat is a hunter that needs large muscles, not large and heavy bones. 

The Naples Natural History Museum had a skeleton of an adult wild male lion some years ago. Although solid all the way, it wasn't quite as robust as that of an adult male brown bear of similar size close by. Compared to the skeleton of the Naples male lion, the tiger skeletons I saw were not as solid. Bones were reinforced in some places (same in skulls), but my impression was they were more flexible. I have to add that I never saw a skeleton of an adult male Indian tiger of similar size.

Assuming that a lion could have a larger skeleton than a tiger of similar size, the question is why. The answer is interesting when we also know that a tiger usually has relatively more muscle mass (also an assumption).

You offered one explanation in that lions, more so than tigers, need to hunt large animals. As they hunt in groups, they don't need to be specialists. Hanging on and tiring the victim would do it, but that would take a lot more time and a body designed to withstand stress. Tigers, solitary cats also hunting large animals, need to be more agile, which would result in a more flexible body and skeleton. As they kill large animals on their own, tigers need tools to do so, especially up front. Hence the vaulted skull, the long canine and the larger fore-arms. This adaption no doubt has an effect on the bones.

Another reason why lions could have a more solid skeleton is genetics. Although Pleistocene tigers in northern China and Java also were very large, my guess is that Pleistocene lions were larger than all other cats (averages). Assuming they used a similar hunting strategy as lions today, they too needed relatively large bones. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they lost size but kept the original design.

In both scenarios, the need for a solid skeleton is clear. In the end, therefore, I would opt for the way they hunt. And not hyenas with short rears (...).

You suggested a direct connection between large bones and strength. I have serious doubts, as tigers of similar size as male lions, also hunting big game, didn't opt for large bones, but large muscles. As they, like lions, do well, the bone and strength theory seems to be out. Here's another explanation.

Solitary tigers, more so than lions, need to be able to adapt quickly to circumstances. Based on what I read, I'd say they only need a few generations to scale down or to upgrade. A flexible frame, therefore, would be very useful. If a tiger gets the opportunity to grow, it can. Although the design didn't change, they were able to hunt large animals and grow to a large size. Lions also adapted over time, but the way they hunt most probably isn't very different from Pleistocene lions. No need to adapt the design as well, that is.

All in all, I'd say that design is strongly related to hunting. Way of life also seems to be important. Solitary hunters need to be able to adapt more quickly than social hunters. If they can't, extinction is close. Solitary hunters ooze flexibility, whereas social hunters do not. The reason is they have more time.                
                 
HUNTING SKILLS

You said lions need to hunt large animals. True. You also suggested tigers are deer hunters. Also true, but to a degree. A male Indian or Nepal tiger didn't get to 10 feet and 500 pounds to hunt deer. Females with cubs hunt small animals, but males hunt large animals. And they start at an early age.
   
Corbett heard a 16-month male tiger fight a large buffalo in Kumaon. The fight lasted for some hours. When he visited the scene the next day, he found the buffalo and blood of the tiger, who had been wounded. The tiger never returned, but lived to a great age. In the Russian Far East, young tigers disperse at 18-22 months. At that age, they can kill a large male wild boar and defend their kill. Tiger 'Boris' had to fight at least two bears in order to keep his boar. Both bears were killed.

Tigers, if anything, seem to be more skilled in this respect and they also start at an early age. No skills is no future.

TO CONCLUDE

I know you like versus debates and I also know you will never quit trying. When I joined AVA, I participated to a degree. Not much fun, I thought. In fact, it resulted in a bad climate and total destruction. Over here, for that reason, versus debates are out. 

Here's a new perspective. My advice is to give it a try.

In the days that humans just started, animals ruled. Hunters were everywhere. Over time, some of them developed, whereas others disappeared. The cat family did very well. Their trick is flexibility. When the opportunity was there, they produced a number of large big game hunters. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they did. Until a few centuries ago, they were still everywhere. Every species occupied a niche and all did well.

Some cats evolved in open country, but most did not. The reason is they are ambush hunters. What they need, is cover. The two largest species are lions and tigers. While some of us discuss the outcome a hypothetical bout, the cats didn't. The reason is they occupied different landscapes. A tiger, as you said, wouldn't succeed in Africa. Not with lion prides and hyenas around. The reason is that cats don't like competitors. They will kill them at every possibility.

Lions prides wouldn't last long in densely forested regions. On their own, a lion would be at a disadvantage in a region that has tigers. The reason is that tigers, like lions in Africa, do not accept competition. If we add a lack of specific skills, knowledge and experience, the concluson is that lions have no future in forested regions that have tigers.

In the thirties of the last century, a Nepal ruler decided to free a number of captive African lions. One pair had to be shot, as they had turned to domestic animals and man. I never found anything about the fate of the others, but my guess is they met tigers. 

When asked about the outcome of a fight between wild animals (adult males), I slightly favour the tiger. The reason is that only the most able, when lucky, get to adulthood. Wild lions also select, but not at the level of individuals. In captivity, a lion could have a slight edge. One reason is that captive lions are able to get to their potential. A second is that they, like their wild relatives, usually live in small groups. Captive lions remain lions, that is. A third reason is that captive male tigers, unlike their wild relatives, were not tested. 

If there's one thing I noticed in fights between captive cats, it's the small margins. A lion beating a tiger on one day, might lose the next day. And the other way round. This also means that the outcome of a fight, to a degree, can be affected by outsiders. If conditions are created that will affect one more than the other, it will have an effect.

There's one thing you need to accept and that is that skill is an individual thing. That was the opinion of all trainers I interviewed and it also was the opinion of two directors of facilities. One of these had a training school and saw a lot more than all trainers combined. Lions and tigers both have a culture and a specific way to deal with conflict, but an all-out is very different from solving a problem with a neighbour. 

I read Beatty's books. Although I didn't agree with most of his appreciations, it can't be excluded that he could have had a point regarding fights. Meaby he really had great lions, but some of the people he employed had a very different opinion on the fights they saw. Same for the outcome. There's nothing wrong with preference, but one should never lose sight of the general picture and the essentials.  

And this was the last contribution in the department of lions, tigers and fights. Both cats are true miracles of evolution. One is involved in teamwork and the other opted for a different way of life. Both did and do very well in their niche and both are fascinating. Why not focus on the essentials of both cats? Could turn out to be very interesting.




I agree in the sense that the environment shapes each cat and even its subspecies to be slightly different to suit that environment, which result in some lions being longer, some tigers taller, so both can have a certain diversity in the design.  But from what I've seen, there does seem to be a pattern that many lions have a shorter body length per height and size.  I've just seen this too much for it not to be a fluke, experts that have seen more cats than us have stated the exact same thing.  As you're saying, a long bodied cat out in the open plains is not really going to suit it so well.  The animals are designed differently to suit their different purposes, lions do fight hyenas, they do need to live in groups to compete with them, I think their bodies and fighting techniques are also suited to handle them in a way other cats are not, I think this is provable.  The longest lion I've seen over 600lbs, still had a very short rear-quarter length, most of its length was its middle body stretched out.  The tiger almost always has high rising long rear-quarters that for sure aid it in jumping.  And we all know tigers can jump far better than male lions, and spring faster, so I think that has to be reason.  I don't think its a knock that tigers hunt deer, deer are extremely fast, the fact that a tiger can catch it just shows how fast it really is.  So I think it would again make sense, lighter bones, more flexibility, more muscular arms just increases speed, especially the first rush. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I recall a male tiger clocked at 50 mph, that's as fast as the quickest lionesses. 

Why would the lion be slower, I think its lower limbs have less muscle perhaps, bones heavier, the top traveling endurance animals have thin but hard lower limbs.   I do believe per square inch on many healthy lions they will be heavier, this slows them down though, but increases their raw power, a healthy lion can look considerably dense in person.  Honestly in person I have not seen a tiger that is the same size height length weigh more than an equal size lion.  I have seen many tigers that are at least 6 or 7 inches longer than many lions.  I say at least, because its like a half a foot, but sometimes even more.  If you add an extra 6 or 7 pounds for every inch like you're saying, than that's about what I saw, those longer tigers would be close to 40lbs heavier.  I think the averages show this across the board.  But there's more to this.  

 Over all the tigers frames not counting the arm muscles are just lighter from what I've seen, whether wild or captive.  Check out the movie if you haven't seen it, " Two Brothers", its a tiger movie, amazing angles and shots of the tigers.  The camera work really lets you get a great look at them, and yes they are quite slender in the frame.  But I realize some wild tigers are much heavier than captive tigers as they are able to consume more in a sitting.  But this is why it is important to get a hold of the information in that Italian Encyclopedia, because they talk about this.  They stated observing more fat in the tigers abdomen, it shows in pics, and the information is in that book.  It was stated to be at least an extra 10kgs, thats around 20lbs, you couple that with added length, that could be where the extra weight is coming from.  I'm not really getting that a tiger can weigh 40lbs more than a lion because its arms are 40lbs heavier.  This is including the shoulder, and the mass around it, I doubt it? 

Honestly I've actually been studying some of the cats anatomy from books  before they were even popular online for school, so I know a bit about it.  In particular the muscles surrounding the lions shoulder area seem more defined and stronger, the Omotransversarius, the Supraspinatus, Trapezius, Latisimus Dorsi, the obliques, all these muscles in a side by side pictorial comparison will be visibly more defined and larger on the lion. In person they are larger, people that work in these facilities have also confirmed this.  The chest of an animal produces the most weight, as well as its food intake.  The muscles over the lions frame occupy large areas, this is going to reap a higher weight then just slightly larger forearms, and  lighter bones.  The triceps I agree seem larger on the tiger, but again what is their function, Triceps for cats aid in flexing the forearms.  The lion is strongest in the muscles that swing the humerus, and shift the frame, the tiger is strongest in the muscles that move the forearms. 

As far as the fighting, I wasn't really getting into that, I had some interest in the skeletons and heard there was a debate going on about that and skulls. I'm not clear on all the data on it, I have some theories.  But I don't think you're right on no species related aggression, that is not what notable trainers said.  Just like anatomy is influenced by environment so is behavior.  The aggressive fighting tendencies and behavior of lions is noted by too many trainers for it not to be true.  There's just a whole lot more to this, the two cats are different, mentally as well, there is hidden knowledge about this that you're only going to find out from talking to these trainers. But you don't hear this information online or in books persay.  Tigers do not like contact, no matter how big, they don't enjoy getting hit, by nature it bothers them and frazzles them.  lions don't care, this is just some of the info top trainers told me.  The lion is designed for contact, perhaps that's why the heavier bones, the thick mane, dense frame, its similar to a football player that enjoys the contact sport.  Some athletes don't and aren't as fit for it, but they could be more athletic, I would say the tiger would be the receiver.
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The lioness has rejoined her cub, and all is right in the jungle.
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Two things.

1- @paul cooper If you aren't able to turn down the insults when you talk to someone else, then I suggest you don't post and wait for the mods to handle it.

2- @Stealthcat If you're serious about "not really getting into that" when it comes to lion vs tiger, then you will drop it. Not only because we don't want the subject here, but also because it isn't even the intent of the thread. Stick to the topic, please.
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(01-21-2018, 09:39 AM)TheLioness Wrote:
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That's a 352 pound lioness. Nice sized cat.
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(01-21-2018, 09:39 AM)TheLioness Wrote:
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Keep it coming, Lioness! Excellent work.

We now have reliable weights of 10 male lions and four lionesses from northern Namibia. The 10 males average 199,10 kg. or 439 pounds (range 170-244 kg. or 375 - 538 pounds), whereas the four females average 148,75 kg. or 329 pounds (range 126-160 kg. or 278 - 353 pounds). Of the 10 males, 3 are young adults. One of the 4 lionesses was 2-3 years of age only when she was weighed. Without her, the average is 156,33 kg. or just over 344 pounds.

Although not corrected for stomach content, the averages are impressive. The Namibian lionesses top every table, whereas the males compare to Kruger Park males.
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( This post was last modified: 01-22-2018, 06:12 PM by peter )

(01-21-2018, 01:09 AM)Stealthcat Wrote:
(01-20-2018, 04:37 PM)peter Wrote:
(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?



*This image is copyright of its original author

HOW TO DEBATE

In order to debate, a clear topic, good information, accuracy, logic and sound arguments are needed. Detours are out. Same for preference and obsession.

As to topic. We're discussing the size of adult lions and tigers of large subspecies. Wild males. The information we have suggests that male tigers are a bit longer and heavier than male lions. The first question is if this conclusion is correct. The second question is why tigers are a tad larger. In order to get to good answers, we need good information, sound reasoning and accurate conclusions. 

As good information on the size of tigers and lions today is largely lacking, we have no option but to use information collected many decades ago, when hunting was legal and hunters usually measured and weighed the cats they shot. We also have to assume that they were both accurate and honest. Based on what I know, I'd say they were.  

The next step is accuracy. I said that the difference in weight between male lions from southwestern Africa and male tigers of India and Nepal of about similar length most probably is a result of more muscular limbs. You agreed on that one, but added that male lions are as strong, if not stronger, than male tigers. Not on topic, so out. 

So what do we have so far? We agreed on average size and weight (a) and on a possible explanation (b).

WHY TIGERS COULD BE HEAVIER THAN LIONS OF SIMILAR SIZE

Apart from more muscular limbs, there could be another factor: length. When I went over the info I have on wild Indian tigers, I noticed that long tigers were consistently heavier than shorter tigers. With 'length', I don't mean head and body length, but total length. Not seldom, a tiger with a head and body length of, say, 6.3 and a tail of, say, 3.3 turned out to be heavier than a tiger with a head and body length of 6.5 and a tail of 2.9. The first tiger was longer and heavier than the shorter tiger, although the shorter tiger had a longer body. Remarkable, as one would expect animals with longer bodies to be heavier. Not so. At least, not in tigers.

When I added the details, I found that most long tigers were mature or old animals. Based on what I know (referring to captive big cats), I'd say that cats of 7 years and older are 'denser' than younger animals. With 'denser', I mean they felt more solid. They also often were heavier. A mature cat carries more weight per inch.

Tigers seem to keep growing most of their life. They also get more dense. I did a bit of work and concluded that every inch added in total length resulted in 6-7 extra pounds. From 7 onward or so, male tigers added relatively more pounds than inches. This, I think, is why long tigers (referring to total length) could be heavier than short tigers. It isn't, therefore, about length, but about density. As density is related to age, it is about age in the end.

A century ago, tigers had more space. If an adult male with a territory today loses a fight, he can't go anywhere. Not in most of India. The reason is smallish reserves and many humans surrounding the reserves. For this reason, he often has no option but to go all-out. Hence the high number of fatalities in some reserves. A century ago, a male losing his territory had more options. If he was routed, he might get another chance elsewhere. This means that male tigers got more opportunities to reach old age back then. As old age often results in more length and weight, chances are that hunters also shot more old tigers. Today, a male reaching 12 in India is quite something. In Corbett's day, not a few reached 15. At least one of them, the Pipal Pani tiger, was in excellent health when he was shot at age 15.

Male lions live in prides in open country in most of Africa. A young male is kicked out at age 2 or so. In a place where every neighbourhood is occupied, he quickly has to find soulmates in order to survive. For some years, coalitions of young males can only use back alleys. If not, a beating could be the result. In between, they need to learn how to hunt. When they, or more accurate, if they, finally get a chance for a take-over, they have to act in a decisive way in order to breed. From then on, most of their energy is invested in defence. In most cases, males only rule for a few years. When they lose a battle, it's close to game over. For this reason, male lions seldom get to 10. In captivity, male lions often reach 15.

FACTORS AFFECTING SIZE

Size is partly related to access to food, but age also is a factor. Age is related to way of life, but vegetation also is important. Lions live in open country, meaning a long body is of no use. Long legs are. Same for a visible appearance, a long skull, a mane and a great voice. Compared to a tiger of similar weight, chances are a lion would be somewhat shorter and taller. This, however, isn't always the case. Desert lions may need long and tall bodies and lions living in elevated regions (Ethiopia) or forested regions (western Africa) often seem to be more stocky than elsewhere. Tigers living in open woodland are taller than elsewhere. Same for tigers faced with long winters, deep snow and few prey animals.

As a result of their way of life (solitary), tigers show more individual variation. In regions offering great opportunities to hunt large animals, they often grow to a large size. As they don't have to share, they, more than lions, can use this opportunity. Over time, this will result in a large average size. Lions also adapt, but not to the degree seen in tigers. The reason is lions are social animals. In most regions, they can't maintain large bodies. Not all year round year after year. Pleistocene lions, very large, could. Hence the size.

BONES

Based on what I saw and read, I agree in the bone department. For now, that is. Lions seem to have slightly longer and heavier bones than tigers, but the samples were small and I only saw skeletons of tigers of small subspecies. We need large samples including all subspecies in order to get to an opinion.

My hunch, however, is that tigers have relatively smaller bones. More than lions, they are professional big game hunters. True hunters need to cut on weight wherever possible. If strong bones are needed, length and weight are not the only options to get there. Curves and density might do the job and bones can be reinforced in some parts. 

I wonder if bone size and muscle size are related in big cats. In humans they are, but I'm not sure about big cats because we don't know how they use their muscles. A cat is a hunter that needs large muscles, not large and heavy bones. 

The Naples Natural History Museum had a skeleton of an adult wild male lion some years ago. Although solid all the way, it wasn't quite as robust as that of an adult male brown bear of similar size close by. Compared to the skeleton of the Naples male lion, the tiger skeletons I saw were not as solid. Bones were reinforced in some places (same in skulls), but my impression was they were more flexible. I have to add that I never saw a skeleton of an adult male Indian tiger of similar size.

Assuming that a lion could have a larger skeleton than a tiger of similar size, the question is why. The answer is interesting when we also know that a tiger usually has relatively more muscle mass (also an assumption).

You offered one explanation in that lions, more so than tigers, need to hunt large animals. As they hunt in groups, they don't need to be specialists. Hanging on and tiring the victim would do it, but that would take a lot more time and a body designed to withstand stress. Tigers, solitary cats also hunting large animals, need to be more agile, which would result in a more flexible body and skeleton. As they kill large animals on their own, tigers need tools to do so, especially up front. Hence the vaulted skull, the long canine and the larger fore-arms. This adaption no doubt has an effect on the bones.

Another reason why lions could have a more solid skeleton is genetics. Although Pleistocene tigers in northern China and Java also were very large, my guess is that Pleistocene lions were larger than all other cats (averages). Assuming they used a similar hunting strategy as lions today, they too needed relatively large bones. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they lost size but kept the original design.

In both scenarios, the need for a solid skeleton is clear. In the end, therefore, I would opt for the way they hunt. And not hyenas with short rears (...).

You suggested a direct connection between large bones and strength. I have serious doubts, as tigers of similar size as male lions, also hunting big game, didn't opt for large bones, but large muscles. As they, like lions, do well, the bone and strength theory seems to be out. Here's another explanation.

Solitary tigers, more so than lions, need to be able to adapt quickly to circumstances. Based on what I read, I'd say they only need a few generations to scale down or to upgrade. A flexible frame, therefore, would be very useful. If a tiger gets the opportunity to grow, it can. Although the design didn't change, they were able to hunt large animals and grow to a large size. Lions also adapted over time, but the way they hunt most probably isn't very different from Pleistocene lions. No need to adapt the design as well, that is.

All in all, I'd say that design is strongly related to hunting. Way of life also seems to be important. Solitary hunters need to be able to adapt more quickly than social hunters. If they can't, extinction is close. Solitary hunters ooze flexibility, whereas social hunters do not. The reason is they have more time.                
                 
HUNTING SKILLS

You said lions need to hunt large animals. True. You also suggested tigers are deer hunters. Also true, but to a degree. A male Indian or Nepal tiger didn't get to 10 feet and 500 pounds to hunt deer. Females with cubs hunt small animals, but males hunt large animals. And they start at an early age.
   
Corbett heard a 16-month male tiger fight a large buffalo in Kumaon. The fight lasted for some hours. When he visited the scene the next day, he found the buffalo and blood of the tiger, who had been wounded. The tiger never returned, but lived to a great age. In the Russian Far East, young tigers disperse at 18-22 months. At that age, they can kill a large male wild boar and defend their kill. Tiger 'Boris' had to fight at least two bears in order to keep his boar. Both bears were killed.

Tigers, if anything, seem to be more skilled in this respect and they also start at an early age. No skills is no future.

TO CONCLUDE

I know you like versus debates and I also know you will never quit trying. When I joined AVA, I participated to a degree. Not much fun, I thought. In fact, it resulted in a bad climate and total destruction. Over here, for that reason, versus debates are out. 

Here's a new perspective. My advice is to give it a try.

In the days that humans just started, animals ruled. Hunters were everywhere. Over time, some of them developed, whereas others disappeared. The cat family did very well. Their trick is flexibility. When the opportunity was there, they produced a number of large big game hunters. When they had to scale down in the Middle Pleistocene, they did. Until a few centuries ago, they were still everywhere. Every species occupied a niche and all did well.

Some cats evolved in open country, but most did not. The reason is they are ambush hunters. What they need, is cover. The two largest species are lions and tigers. While some of us discuss the outcome a hypothetical bout, the cats didn't. The reason is they occupied different landscapes. A tiger, as you said, wouldn't succeed in Africa. Not with lion prides and hyenas around. The reason is that cats don't like competitors. They will kill them at every possibility.

Lions prides wouldn't last long in densely forested regions. On their own, a lion would be at a disadvantage in a region that has tigers. The reason is that tigers, like lions in Africa, do not accept competition. If we add a lack of specific skills, knowledge and experience, the concluson is that lions have no future in forested regions that have tigers.

In the thirties of the last century, a Nepal ruler decided to free a number of captive African lions. One pair had to be shot, as they had turned to domestic animals and man. I never found anything about the fate of the others, but my guess is they met tigers. 

When asked about the outcome of a fight between wild animals (adult males), I slightly favour the tiger. The reason is that only the most able, when lucky, get to adulthood. Wild lions also select, but not at the level of individuals. In captivity, a lion could have a slight edge. One reason is that captive lions are able to get to their potential. A second is that they, like their wild relatives, usually live in small groups. Captive lions remain lions, that is. A third reason is that captive male tigers, unlike their wild relatives, were not tested. 

If there's one thing I noticed in fights between captive cats, it's the small margins. A lion beating a tiger on one day, might lose the next day. And the other way round. This also means that the outcome of a fight, to a degree, can be affected by outsiders. If conditions are created that will affect one more than the other, it will have an effect.

There's one thing you need to accept and that is that skill is an individual thing. That was the opinion of all trainers I interviewed and it also was the opinion of two directors of facilities. One of these had a training school and saw a lot more than all trainers combined. Lions and tigers both have a culture and a specific way to deal with conflict, but an all-out is very different from solving a problem with a neighbour. 

I read Beatty's books. Although I didn't agree with most of his appreciations, it can't be excluded that he could have had a point regarding fights. Meaby he really had great lions, but some of the people he employed had a very different opinion on the fights they saw. Same for the outcome. There's nothing wrong with preference, but one should never lose sight of the general picture and the essentials.  

And this was the last contribution in the department of lions, tigers and fights. Both cats are true miracles of evolution. One is involved in teamwork and the other opted for a different way of life. Both did and do very well in their niche and both are fascinating. Why not focus on the essentials of both cats? Could turn out to be very interesting.




I agree in the sense that the environment shapes each cat and even its subspecies to be slightly different to suit that environment, which result in some lions being longer, some tigers taller, so both can have a certain diversity in the design.  But from what I've seen, there does seem to be a pattern that many lions have a shorter body length per height and size.  I've just seen this too much for it not to be a fluke, experts that have seen more cats than us have stated the exact same thing.  As you're saying, a long bodied cat out in the open plains is not really going to suit it so well.  The animals are designed differently to suit their different purposes, lions do fight hyenas, they do need to live in groups to compete with them, I think their bodies and fighting techniques are also suited to handle them in a way other cats are not, I think this is provable.  The longest lion I've seen over 600lbs, still had a very short rear-quarter length, most of its length was its middle body stretched out.  The tiger almost always has high rising long rear-quarters that for sure aid it in jumping.  And we all know tigers can jump far better than male lions, and spring faster, so I think that has to be reason.  I don't think its a knock that tigers hunt deer, deer are extremely fast, the fact that a tiger can catch it just shows how fast it really is.  So I think it would again make sense, lighter bones, more flexibility, more muscular arms just increases speed, especially the first rush. I'm not 100% sure on this, but I recall a male tiger clocked at 50 mph, that's as fast as the quickest lionesses. 

Why would the lion be slower, I think its lower limbs have less muscle perhaps, bones heavier, the top traveling endurance animals have thin but hard lower limbs.   I do believe per square inch on many healthy lions they will be heavier, this slows them down though, but increases their raw power, a healthy lion can look considerably dense in person.  Honestly in person I have not seen a tiger that is the same size height length weigh more than an equal size lion.  I have seen many tigers that are at least 6 or 7 inches longer than many lions.  I say at least, because its like a half a foot, but sometimes even more.  If you add an extra 6 or 7 pounds for every inch like you're saying, than that's about what I saw, those longer tigers would be close to 40lbs heavier.  I think the averages show this across the board.  But there's more to this.  

 Over all the tigers frames not counting the arm muscles are just lighter from what I've seen, whether wild or captive.  Check out the movie if you haven't seen it, " Two Brothers", its a tiger movie, amazing angles and shots of the tigers.  The camera work really lets you get a great look at them, and yes they are quite slender in the frame.  But I realize some wild tigers are much heavier than captive tigers as they are able to consume more in a sitting.  But this is why it is important to get a hold of the information in that Italian Encyclopedia, because they talk about this.  They stated observing more fat in the tigers abdomen, it shows in pics, and the information is in that book.  It was stated to be at least an extra 10kgs, thats around 20lbs, you couple that with added length, that could be where the extra weight is coming from.  I'm not really getting that a tiger can weigh 40lbs more than a lion because its arms are 40lbs heavier.  This is including the shoulder, and the mass around it, I doubt it? 

Honestly I've actually been studying some of the cats anatomy from books  before they were even popular online for school, so I know a bit about it.  In particular the muscles surrounding the lions shoulder area seem more defined and stronger, the Omotransversarius, the Supraspinatus, Trapezius, Latisimus Dorsi, the obliques, all these muscles in a side by side pictorial comparison will be visibly more defined and larger on the lion. In person they are larger, people that work in these facilities have also confirmed this.  The chest of an animal produces the most weight, as well as its food intake.  The muscles over the lions frame occupy large areas, this is going to reap a higher weight then just slightly larger forearms, and  lighter bones.  The triceps I agree seem larger on the tiger, but again what is their function, Triceps for cats aid in flexing the forearms.  The lion is strongest in the muscles that swing the humerus, and shift the frame, the tiger is strongest in the muscles that move the forearms. 

As far as the fighting, I wasn't really getting into that, I had some interest in the skeletons and heard there was a debate going on about that and skulls. I'm not clear on all the data on it, I have some theories.  But I don't think you're right on no species related aggression, that is not what notable trainers said.  Just like anatomy is influenced by environment so is behavior.  The aggressive fighting tendencies and behavior of lions is noted by too many trainers for it not to be true.  There's just a whole lot more to this, the two cats are different, mentally as well, there is hidden knowledge about this that you're only going to find out from talking to these trainers. But you don't hear this information online or in books persay.  Tigers do not like contact, no matter how big, they don't enjoy getting hit, by nature it bothers them and frazzles them.  lions don't care, this is just some of the info top trainers told me.  The lion is designed for contact, perhaps that's why the heavier bones, the thick mane, dense frame, its similar to a football player that enjoys the contact sport.  Some athletes don't and aren't as fit for it, but they could be more athletic, I would say the tiger would be the receiver.

Not too bad, but I saw a storm building before I left for the weekend. Bans are a result of decisions of all mods, meaning you overdid it again. We don't mind opinions, but firm statements have to be based on reliable sources and sound reasoning. If you don't and add too much chili, the result will be close to misinformation and that's where the line is drawn. 

Before you continue with a new alias, try to get a hold of the old obsession as it's getting the better of you most of the time.

Next time, start in the animal trainer thread. My advice is to interview a number of trainers. Before you do the interview, tell 'm you're preferenced. In this way you can prevent questions that will confirm preconceived ideas.  

When you post statements, add quotes, source, name and date. When I contact your man, the result of the interview has to be identical to what you found. 

Before you go public, find two other trainers who agree. They have to be independent. When done, find 3 trainers who disagree. This is what a good journalist should do before publishing a story and this is what you should do. If you don't, chances they're not going to take you serious. 

And refrain from Italian flower specialists doing lions and tigers in weekends, no matter what. 

Take a break and think it over. I might be interested in a follow-up, provided you raise the bar. This is needed to get to a bit of knowledge, as that should be the aim. And not before summer.

Back to topic: modern weights and measurements of wild lions.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#42
( This post was last modified: 01-24-2018, 12:31 AM by peter )

LIONESS

Here's the updated table on lions in northern Namibia. I'll update the table every time you post good info:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Males 8 and 9 lost their mom at a very early age. Although they live in a large enclosure, they're not habituated. They're not as heavy as their wild relatives, because they don't have the same opportunities.

When you post, try to find as much as you can. We need a bit more on male lions 10-13.

As to regions. I think we should distinguish between Etosha (wild lions but close to Hobatere and domestic animals), Hobatere and adjacent districts (cattle lions), and the Kalahari (wild lions). My guess is we'll significant differences in weight. I'm especially interested in females.
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United States TheLioness Offline
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Thanks peter
I'll be getting some more lion weights in a couple weeks. I believe it's a different location. We shall see, I also should be getting measurements.
The lioness has rejoined her cub, and all is right in the jungle.
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United States Pckts Online
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Right in that 180-250kg wheelhouse, I think it's safe to say that we have a fairly good grasp on what Lions and Tigers normal range is, it's the top tier that there still seems to be some debate.
Is it 272kg, 300kg, 380kg or more? 
But whatever the case, anything over 250kg is to be considered exceptional and nothing less.
"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."
-Oscar Wilde
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Venezuela epaiva Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-14-2018, 08:04 PM by epaiva )

Measurements and Weight of four young Lions two males and two females about 2,4 years old from Malawi, they are very big animals for their age.
Credit to Mr Simon Naylor for information and pictures.
@simonjamesnaylor


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
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