Can an African Lion Survive in the Arctic Tundra?

Can it?

The lion is the king of beasts, known for its hunting and fierce roar. It is also a very tough animal that can survive extreme conditions. But can an African lion live in the arctic tundra? Let’s find out.

Let’s start out with the basics. The African lion (panther leo) is a pretty large cat. They can be as big as four feet tall and 8.5 feet long and weigh up to 450 lbs. They are strict carnivores and do not eat anything except meat. The lion lives up to 20 years in the wild and up to 25 years in captivity. African lions travel in groups called prides. Prides usually consist of about 15 lions. Male lions have manes that serve protection around their necks when fighting another lion. A lion’s roar can be heard from an amazing five miles away.

The lion lives in the east and southern parts of Africa in the savannas. The vegetation isn’t very broad. Most of it is covered in grasses and shrubs, and a few trees scattered across the land. There isn’t much geography in the savannas, it’s mostly flat grounds. The climate there relatively stays the same. In the summer, the temperature ranges from 25 to 30 degrees Celsius. During the winter, the temperature goes from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. The lion feeds off any meat it finds or kills, although it does have preferences like zebras or hares.

If there are similarities between the arctic tundra and savanna, the lion will be able to survive.

The arctic tundra doesn’t consist of many animals. Some mammals include caribou, hares, squirrels, fox, wolves, polar bears, deer, moose, and elk. The only real competition the lion may face here would be the wolf.

Some birds in the tundra are ravens, falcons, loons, sandpipers, terns, and gulls. As for fish, there are cod, flatfish, salmon, and trout.

The arctic tundra can be considered a “very cold savanna,” as the ground is mostly flat. The average temperature during the year is -28 degrees Celsius. It is also very windy in the tundra, winds blowing from thirty to sixty miles per hour. There is very low vegetation, similar to the lion’s habitat. There are few trees, lots of grass (mostly under the snow), moss, heath, and lichens.

Can the lion survive in the arctic tundra? The lion will have a big meat source there, and it could dine on hares, something already part of its diet. Lions can also survive near extreme conditions, and they have fur which will keep them warm in the icy tundra. There’s also no real competition in the tundra, the animal at the top of the food chain there is the wolf. Lastly, the tundra is extremely similar to the savannas, just a lot colder. Based on all these facts, the African lion should be able to survive in the arctic tundra.

My hypothesis was correct, the African lion most likely will be able to survive in the arctic tundra.

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One Response to “Can an African Lion Survive in the Arctic Tundra?”
  1. Jay Says...

    On September 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I’m calling B.S.
    I don’t believe there would be enough vegatative cover available for a lion to ambush prey. They lay low in tall grass to hunt and surprise their prey. They cannot pursue prey a long distance. The lack of camoflauge in the tundra would allow all their prey to run away before the lion got close enough to strike. Plus, I’m not sure that a lion would be able to withstand the extreme cold in the Arctic. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they could survive temps around -40F. A lions fur is very short (except the mane). Not like a Siberian tiger who has extremely dense and long fur in the winter. Yep. B.S.!

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