Do Lions Live In The Desert?

Lions can live in a wide variety of habitats, including grasslands, savannas, scrub, and woodland. But can lions live in the harshest environment of all – the desert? 

Do any lions live in the desert? While most lions do not live in the desert, there is one type of lion that calls the desert home. The Namib Desert is one of the oldest and largest deserts in the world. This desert covers parts of Namibia, Angola, and South Africa. This desert is unforgiving and vast, and yet a wide variety of creatures have adapted to live in this desert.  

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The lions that live in the Namib Desert have adapted to go without water for extended periods of time. Other adaptions that these lions have included how they hunt for food. Since they live in the desert, they may have to travel long distances in order to find prey.

This may cause lions to settle for smaller prey (such as a mouse) that lions who do not live in the desert would see as a waste of energy. Hunger also makes these lions bolder when hunting and they may seek out larger prey in order to satisfy their hunger. 

The lions that live in the Namib Desert also look a little different from the other lions in Africa. The desert lions have longer legs which helps them to walk over the scorching hot desert sand. They also have a slightly thicker coat which protects them at night, when the temperature in the desert drops dramatically.  

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How many lions live in the Namib Desert? 

There are not a lot of lions who live in the Namib Desert and habitat loss and conflict with tribes has led to a decrease in the desert lion population. In recent years, it has been recorded that there are about 150 lions living in the northwest region of the Namib Desert.  

Namibian Desert in Sossusvlei
Namibian Desert in Sossusvlei

What other animals live in the Namib Desert? 

Lions are far from the only animals that have adapted to life in the harsh conditions in the Namib Desert. Oryxes, elephants, rhinos, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, foxes, zebras, and wild horses are all animals that live in the Namib Desert. 

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What is the difference between a savanna and a desert? 

When a lot of people think of where lions live, they think of a savanna. The major difference between savanna and a desert is the amount of rain that the area receives.

Savannas, which are also called prairies or grasslands, are areas where there is not enough rainfall to support a forest, but not so little that a desert is formed. Savannas look like dry, dominant grass vegetation.

A desert, on the other hand, is a barren landscape with little rainfall. Interestingly enough, about one-third of the earth’s land surface is covered in a desert (this includes the Polar Regions which are called “cold deserts”). 

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Do all lions live in Africa? 

Do all lions live in Africa
Do all lions live in Africa?

Nearly all lions live in Africa, but there is a small population of wild lions in western India. The lions that live in India (Asiatic lions) are more closely related to the lions that are found in western and central Africa, as opposed to the lions found in the southern and eastern potions of Africa. A fun fact is that at one point, lions roamed most of Africa, Asia, and Europe, but they now live in only about 6% of their historic range. 

What do lions eat?

Lions are meat eaters or carnivores. Lions will hunt smaller animals such as birds, hares, wild hogs, and antelopes. They will also hunt other carnivores such as cheetahs, leopards, and crocodiles. Sometimes, a group of lions (called a “pride”) will even work together to hunt large animals, like hippopotamuses, rhinoceros, baby elephants, or a lone giraffe.+

The lionesses do the hunting for the lion pride and lions will usually eat every three to four days. After the lionesses get the prey, the strongest male lion will eat first. These lions can eat up to 110 pounds of meat at a time! After the strongest male eats, the rest of the pride will be allowed to eat. The lion cubs will get to eat last and they will just eat the scraps of meat leftover.