African lioness nursing cubs

African lioness nursing cubs

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Credit: MARY BETH ANGELO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: African lioness (Panthera leo) nursing cubs. There are 2-4 cubs born in a litter. They feed on their mother's milk for 4 months, eating some meat from 5-6 weeks of age. Many cubs do not survive their first year, being killed by predators while their mother is hunting, or killed by a male lion who takes over the pride (a lion's social group). The female cubs stay with the pride, while the males leave at around 3 years of age to find their own pride. Lions can live for 12-18 years in the wild. They can grow to body lengths of over 2 metres and are the largest African carnivores. They are found on the African savannah. Photographed in the Masai Mara, Kenya.

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