African lion
Animals

Lion

At A Glance

  • Conservation Status: Threatened
  • Location: Elephant Odyssey
  • ZOO ZONE: Elephant Odyssey

    Lions have captured our imagination for centuries. Stars of movies and characters in books, lions are at the top of the food chain. The Swahili word for lion, simba, also means "king," "strong," and "aggressive." The word lion has similar meaning in our vocabulary. If you call someone lionhearted, you’re describing a courageous and brave person. If you lionize someone, you treat that person with great interest or importance. Lions are famous for their sonorous roar but have other forms of communication as well, mostly used to mark territory. They spread their scent by rubbing their muzzle on tufts of grass or shrubs, and they rake the earth with their hind paws, as the paws have scent glands, too. Adult males also spray urine as a message. You’ll see a sign in front of our lion exhibit that warns of the male’s spraying range. Stand back—no kidding!

    Spy kid and African penguin.
    April 3-19

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    Young brother and sister, mother and father wearing matching San Diego Zoo t-shirts.
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