Posts Tagged ‘Lion’

Yesterday was the day of the small cat. Today is the day of the big cat. My favourite big cat is the lion. Or rather the lioness. The lioness is an amazing superhero. She gives birth to cubs, nurtures them, feeds them, plays with them, teaches them to have fun, to fight, to hunt, to have good relationships with other pride members, and brings them up to become responsible lionesses and lions, and when the time comes, steps back and lets them go. She also treats other cubs in the pride with the same love and affection as her own cubs. She alongwith her pride sisters parent all the cubs in the pride together. She also hunts with her pride sisters and puts food on the table. Parenting, nurturing, maintaining great relationships, putting food on the table – she is great at them all. I love the lion too, because he looks magnificent and protects his pride, but I love the lioness more. She is my hero. She is one of the most inspiring mothers and one of the most beautiful women in the animal kingdom. I also love the lioness and the lion because they are the only big cats who live together as a large family. So, I was excited to read this book to find out what it says about my favourite big cats.

Lee Server’s book starts with these lines :

“The majestic lion is the legendary ruler of the animal kingdom. Revered for its strength and bravery, the lion has been a symbol of supremacy since the beginning of recorded history. The lion gained its ascendancy in a world filled with fierce contenders. It is not the largest of animals, nor the strongest or fastest. Compared to other cats, its skills as a hunter are, in fact, flawed, and its plain, tawny coat does not compare to the richly colored and patterned fur of other animals of its kind.”

Lee Server goes on to explore the history of the lion family and what we know about it and why it is regarded as the king of the animal kingdom. He describes how lions look, how they behave, how in some ways they are very similar to our house cat, how they get together and form prides, how pride members nurture each other, how lions and lionesses mate and have cubs, how lionesses nurture and raise their cubs alongwith their pride sisters, how lionesses stalk and hunt prey. The book, at around 70 pages, is not very long, but within those pages, the author manages to pack in a lot of information. There are beautiful, stunning photographs in every page and it is a pleasure to read the book and see the actual lion family scene unfolding on the page. I have shared a few photos in the comments to give you a flavour of their exquisite beauty. All photographs are copyrighted by the respective copyright owners. I have shared a few here, as a book reviewer, to illustrate the contents of the book.

“Lionesses can be caring mothers, guarding their cubs in infancy, entertaining them with play, and finally, teaching them to hunt and provide for themselves.”

“The rituals of meeting and mutual grooming provide an important bond between the members of a pride that helps to maintain the group’s cohesion and structure…most lions enjoy these lifelong social relationships…”

“When pride members meet after being apart for awhile, they greet each other by rubbing heads to show their friendly intentions. The greeting is often followed by a period of mutual grooming.”

“Play is another means of bonding among pride members. Females play frequently, while adult males are less enthusiastic. Lionesses teasingly stalk and wrestle with other females, and also romp a great deal with cubs. Frequently, a mother playfully pokes a youngster with her paw, causing the cub to swat back, often while rolling on its back.”

“Lion cubs spend a great deal of time grappling and swatting one another. These playful sparring matches teach basic defensive skills and help to establish patterns of dominance and rank among the younger generation.”

“Lionesses rarely have litters of more than four cubs. This number is the most that they can suckle at a time.”

“Learning the social rituals of meeting and grooming is an important part of a cub’s education. The bonds forged in infancy last a lifetime for many lions.”

Lee Server’s book gave me a lot of pleasure and joy and goosebumps. It is one of my favourite reads of the year. It is a beautiful book to read and browse with your family, especially, your little ones. One word of warning though. Lionesses and lions are big cats and are adorable, but they are also wild, carnivorous hunters. This book talks about that too. There are pictures which depict hunting scenes too. So if you are reading this book with your little one, do handle those pages with care.

Have you read ‘Lions : A Portrait of the Animal World‘ by Lee Server? What do you think about it?

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