How Long Do Lions Live (And Why)?

How Long Do Lions Live (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 10 To 16 Years

Lions are referred to as big cats native to India and Africa. These animals belong to the genus Panthera. Male lions are big as compared to female lions. When found in groups, they are known as pride. A pride consists of a couple of adult lions, related female lions, and cubs. Whereas, the group of only male lions is known as coalitions.

While on the other hand, some of the lions are nomads. That means, these lions only walk with their partner or alone if their partner has died. Another reason why lions walk alone is that they were separated from their pride at an early age.

Lions are mainly found in regions of western India, Southeast Europe, and South Asia. Moreover, lions are also kept in zoos and sanctuaries. 

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How Long Do Lions Live?

Species Of LionLifespan
Barbary lion10 to 12 years
Asiatic lion16 to 18 years
Masai lion8 to 10 years
Ethiopian lion12 to 14 years

Lions, on average, live about 10 to 16 years. However, depending upon many factors, the lifespan of lions may be reduced to less than 10 years, or even last longer than 16 years.

Lions fail to live longer because of many factors like a natural threat, food shortage, diseases, and many external factors. However, the main factor which determines the lifespan of a lion is the species. There are many species of the lion with different characteristics and different lifespans.

The Barbary lion is an extinct species of lion which lived in North Africa. The lifespan of the Barbary lion was about 10 to 12 years.

The lifespan of the Asiatic lion is the longest. Their lifespan ranges from 16 to 18 years. These lions are among one of the five pantherine cats which are native to India. The other four pantherine cats are Bengal tiger, Indian leopard, Snow leopard, and clouded leopard.

The Masai lion is an extinct lion found in the areas of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Their lifespan ranges from 8 to up to 10 years.

The Ethiopian lions found in the regions of Ethiopia belonged to the collection of the late emperor of Ethiopia. Their lifespan is about 12 to 14 years.

Why Do Lions Live That Long?

Generally, lions living in captivity, which means in zoological gardens and sanctuaries, tend to live longer than lions living in the wild. The reason behind that is because all the conditions suitable to live for a lion are readily provided to lions in captivity. They don’t have to search for food or hunt other animals to stay alive. Whereas, lions living in the wild struggle to live longer because of shortage of food, unsuitable external conditions, fear of hunters, and all other such problems as well. Lions in captivity can live up to as long as 20 years.

Although lions are apex predators, that means they are on the top of the food chain. However, they still struggle to live because of the fact there are many hunters which hunt on lions for their skin and other body parts. That is a major reason why lions are getting extinct.

Apart from that, it is known that female lions tend to live longer than male lions. However, there are no such theories or practically proven why female lions live longer than male lions. But the possibilities could be because of complex interactions between the local environmental conditions and sex-specific cost of reproduction.

In more simple words, it can be said that male lions fight with other male lions to overtake and lead the pride. However, female lions are not involved in such quarrels. Thus, female lions live about 5 to 10 years longer than male lions.


Lions are not just animals, but they hold economic importance and religious beliefs as well. They are recognized and considered as a symbol of human culture. Moreover, lions are also depicted on Indian sculptures, holy books, paintings, and national flags.

Lions are most of the time sleeping and are observed to be inactive for about 20 hours a day. They hunt mostly during the time of dawn. On average, it is known that they spend around two hours a day hunting and walking, and about 15 minutes eating.


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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

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