Written by: Christof Schoeman
You haven’t really experienced lions if you haven’t seen them roaring, hunting or mating – it’s exhilirating! Most of the time, they can be found sleeping and are extremely lethargic, but when they’re active, they are nothing less than awesome!
You are lucky to see them active during your safari, and when you do, you might experience the raw power of one of mother nature’s most formidable predators.
The guests that visit Tintswalo Safari Lodge from abroad get to see lions mating quite often due to the high density of lions in the Manyeleti Game Reserve. In the images and video clip, you will see our dominant males called the ‘Thanda Impis’. They have established their territory in the central-northern Manyeleti and are controlling two separate prides of females, also known as pride separation. For the last two-three years these two males have been on honeymoon on numerous occasions and have now sired a total of 20 cubs between the two sets of females!
It’s a very impassioned and intense event when they mate, and these super predators mate a lot! Lionesses have a very low fertility rate and a very small percentage of mating results in conception. To put it into perspective, for each cub that reaches one year old, the parents would have mated about 3,000 times! Explains why they sleep so much 😉
A pair will mate every 20 minutes for four days and nights with each session lasting one minute! Short and sweet! Or is it? The female growls viciously while the male will bite the female at the neck! By doing this he forces the female to submit and to block her from lashing out at him when he extracts. A male lion’s penis is barbed, ‘small hooks’ that will cause a lot of pain for the females upon extraction. Apparently this function helps induce ovulation. That’s why they have to copulate regularly to ovulate and conceive.
Every time we witness this passionate event, the lyrics ‘in the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight’ comes to mind and some of the guests, especially honeymoon couples, will hum the tune with a little giggle after the action!