The Lion has a broad habitat tolerance, absent only from tropical rainforest and the interior of the Sahara desert (Nowell and Jackson 1996). There are records of Lion to elevations of more than 4,000 m in the BaleMountains and on Kilimanjaro (West and Packer in press). Although Lions drink regularly when water is available, they are capable of obtaining their moisture requirements from prey and even plants (such as the tsama melon in the Kalahari desert), and thus can survive in very arid environments. Medium- to large-sized ungulates (including antelopes, zebra and wildebeest) are the bulk of their prey, but Lions will take almost any animal, from rodents to a rhino. They also scavenge, displacing other predators (such as the Spotted Hyaena) from their kills.
Lions are the most social of the cats, with related females remaining together in prides, and related and unrelated males forming coalitions competing for tenure over prides. Average pride size (including males and females) is four to six adults; prides generally break into smaller groups when hunting. Lions tend to live at higher densities than most other felids, but with a wide variation from 1.5 adults per 100 km² in southern African semi-desert to 55/100 km² in parts of the Serengeti (Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). Pride ranges can vary widely even in the same region: e.g., from 266-4,532 km² in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park of South Africa (Funston 2001), and 20,500 km² in the Serengeti (West and Packer in press).
In India, the habitat of the Asiatic Lion is dry deciduous forest. The GirNational Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is surrounded by cultivated areas and inhabited by the pastoralist Maldharis and their livestock. Domestic cattle have historically been a major part of the Asiatic Lion's diet, although the most common prey is the chital deer. Mean pride size, measured by the number of adult females, tends to be smaller than for African Lions: most Gir prides contain an average of two adult females (Nowell and Jackson 1996).