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Lion Mane


Also unlike any other cat, the lion possesses a mane of long, fine hair around the head. Only male lions have manes, which can be from a light tawny color, to a ruddy yellow, dark brown to almost jet black. The lion's mane is thought to make the animal look bigger, and so frighten off any animals, like hyenas, that would want to attack the pride. It is also speculated by some scientists that the lion's mane is a sexual cue to the females. It is discovered that females preferred male lions with fuller and darker manes. Unfortunately, the male lion cannot hunt for itself due to its mane; it does indeed make the lion look bigger, and so it cannot hide as well as the females in the grass, and becomes conspicuous to prey animals.

The Asian lion's mane is much smaller than its African cousin's. Because it is smaller, the Asian lion's ears are visible; African lion's ears are often obscured by their thicker manes. It takes a male lion 5-7 years for its mane to grow to its full length. It starts out as longer hairs on the sides of the head and a ray of hair extending from the front of the skull to the back along the neck, then it fills out from there. Some lions have very thick manes and some have sparse thin manes, depending on where they live. Mane production is directly related to sex hormones; this has been proven in captivity, where male lions that had been castrated lost their manes entirely. It is due to this mane of hair that the lion has become so popular, and is portrayed as the "King of Beasts" in so many cultures.



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