Curiosities: What does a lioness do with the cubs of the pride that does not do with her own?

By Eddy Montilla.


Lion and lioness belong to the cat family and usually live in groups that are called pride. Even though African lion prides consisting of as many as 40 have been seen, in general, a pride consists of two or three lions and a dozen lionesses. These animals do not mate frequently, actually only every two years, and in general, for a maximum period between four and six days. But during this time, they mate in a range that oscillates between every 17 and 30 minutes, that is, almost three times per hour, so we are talking about 20, 40, 50 and up to 100 times per day! what a lion!

     After a gestation period of 110 days, three and a half months approximately, the lioness will give birth to a litter commonly consisting of two or three cubs. Lionesses reproduce at the same time and it is here when the curious part begins and it is also the answer of the question: A lioness suckles other cubs, but not her own.

     And why do they that? Lions honor their nickname “the king” by doing what historically kings have done: Nothing. They usually spend between 16 and 20 hours either sleeping or resting. So, females are doing the job of hunting and raising the cubs. Since females give birth in synchrony with each other, any lactating female can suckle any cub that belongs to the pride creating equal opportunities for them when hunting and for the cubs too. I personally have another idea: If you observe the behavior of these animals, you will notice that “sense and sensibility” are not really part of them: The lion eats first, cubs can be abandoned if they do not have enough food, etc. The act of suckling is an action that develops affection between “A mother” and “her son”. By making distance between them, the lioness can ensure her own survival and, somehow teach her cub since the beginning to find a way to survive too.

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