Lions are large cats with short, tawny coats, white underparts, and long tails with a black tuft at the end. They are sexually dimorphic and male lions are the only cats with manes. Three year-old male lions grow manes that vary in color from black to blond. Manes tend to be fuller in open habitats. Adult males typically weigh 189 kg; the heaviest male on record weighed 272 kg (Mount Kenya). Females weigh 126 kg on average. The average male height is 1.2 m and the average female height is 1.1 m. Length ranges from 2.4 to 3.3 m and tail length ranges from 0.6 to 1.0 m; the longest male lion recorded was 3.3 m.
Cubs have brown spots on a grayish coat until the age of three months; spots may remain on stomach, especially in east Africa. Albinism does occur in some populations, but there are no published records of melanism (black fur) in lions. Adult lions have 30 total teeth and adult females have four mammae.
Asiatic lions (P. l. persica) are slightly smaller than African lions and have shorter manes, thicker elbow and tail tufts, and longitudinal skin folds on their stomachs. Although Asiatic lions are genetically distinct from African lions, the genetic difference between the two species is smaller than that between human races.
Range mass: 126 to 272 kg.
Range length: 2.4 to 3.3 m.
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; ornamentation
Average basal metabolic rate: 94.58 W.