Zoo Animals


African lion

Panthera leo

At the Detroit Zoo
Simba, a male lion once owned by the royal family of Qatar, found a new palace at the Detroit Zoo in October 2012. Simba seems to enjoy lounging in the grass at the front of the habitat. Erin was rescued from a junkyard in Kansas in 2009. She can sometimes be found playing with “the boomer ball” which appears to be her favorite toy. The lions can be seen year-round in their 7,500-square-foot African Grasslands habitat, which features a 17-foot-tall glass wall for a closer view of the big cats. Warming rocks built near the glass provide the lions a toasty perch for people-watching in cooler weather.

The African lion is tan with white spots on its muzzle and above its eyes. The male has a large brown or black mane that frames its face. Both males and females have tufts of dark brown or black hair at the end of their tails. Large teeth and claws help the lion catch food and fight off intruders.

Fun Facts

  • The lion has a ferocious demeanor and reputation but is actually one of the most social of all cats. They often live in groups, called prides, of 15 or more individuals.

  • A lion’s roar can be heard five miles away.

  • A lion can sleep up to 20 hours a day, so it is only awake for about three years of its life.