Lion vs. Tiger

Lion vs. Tiger

Lion and tiger are species of wild cats. They are the most famous for their body size: tiger is the largest, while lion is the second largest cat on the planet. Together with jaguar, leopard and snow leopard, they are classified as "big cats". Thanks to their incredible strength and ferocious nature, lion and tiger do not have natural enemies (they are on the top of the food chain). Lion can be found in savannas, open woodlands, scrublands and areas covered with tall grass in sub-Saharan Africa and India. Tiger inhabits taiga, open grasslands and mangrove swamps of Siberia, China, India and southeast Asia. As a result of accelerated habitat loss, uncontrolled hunting and conflicts with humans, both lion (Asian lion) and tiger are on the list of endangered species. Tiger and lion are very popular and frequently portrayed in literature and mythology. They differ in:

Size of the Body and Brain

Lion is taller, but tiger is larger (heavier), more muscular and stronger than lion. Tiger also has 25% bigger brain than lion.

Color of the Fur

Lion has short light tan, yellowish-brown, reddish or ochre-colored fur and tan, dark brown or black mane around the face (only males have manes). Tiger has orange fur on the back and lateral sides of the body and white fur on the belly. Its body is covered with around 100 black stripes that provide camouflage in the jungles.


Lion can reach the speed of 50 miles per hour, but it can travel only short distance at this speed. Tiger can reach the speed of 30 to 40 (37 on average) miles per hour and it is generally considered more agile and more active than lion.

Hunting Strategies and Favorite Types of Food

Both lion and tiger are nocturnal hunters. Lions live in groups, called prides, made of few females, one or two adult males and their offspring. Females, lionesses, are responsible for hunting and providing of food. They usually hunt and eat Thompson's gazelle, impala, zebra, wildebeest, cape buffalo, giraffe, hippo and rhino. Lions also frequently steal food from cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs. Tigers are solitary creatures that live and hunt on their own. Deer, buffalo, wild pigs, monkeys, fish and birds are usually on their menu. Unlike the lions, tigers never steal food from other animals. Aside from being more active, tigers are also more aggressive than lions.

Litter Size and Nursing

Tigress gives birth to 2 to 4 cubs per season and takes care of them until they reach the age of 2 years. Lioness usually gives birth to 1 or 2 cubs and nurse them until the age of 10 to 12 months.

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