You’ve all heard of the mighty beast of the jungle that is the lion and the tiger. They are majestic animals that people fear but find fascinating at the same time.
Other animals bow down and prey run as fast as they can but which one holds the title of being King? Which one roams the jungle as royalty?
A lot of people quickly answer this question and say that the lion is the king. This is what we are taught as children but do you ever wonder why? Have you ever considered the strength of the tiger?
There are many other animals, apart from the lion and the tiger that possess powerful qualities that could make them royalty and if we put them side by side, we see that they could be powerful enough to take away the title. So who is the real king? This article takes a closer look.
An Introduction To The Big Cats
Both the lion and the tiger are wildcats and famous for their huge size. The tiger is the largest cat on the planet, whilst the lion comes close in second place. He shares this place with the Jaguar Leopard and the Snow Leopard, all of whom are classified as big cats.
Lions are found in Savannah’s woodlands and scrublands mostly and areas of sub-Saharan Africa and India where there is tall grass. Tigers however can be found in taiga open grasslands and mangrove swamps of Siberia, India, China, and Southeast Asia. This is a result of huge habitat loss from illegal hunting and conflicts between humans and the lion. The Asian lion and the tiger are both however on the list of endangered species.
Appearance-wise, the main difference between the two cats is the stripes on the tiger. Tigers have big black and bold stripes across them and they do not have a mane as a lion does. Male lions have a famous main around their faces and this gives them their distinct appearance.
There are nine subspecies of tigers recorded and some of these have become extinct such as the Java and Bali tigers. The Siberian and Bengal tigers however are the largest subspecies there are.
The lion species have recorded twelve subspecies with the Altlas lion from North Africa being extinct among others.
King Of The Jungle
When working out who is the king of the jungle, there are many factors to consider. Some of these include:
The length of a Bengal tiger is about 2.7-3.3 meters long and they weigh about 325 kilograms. This increases up to 360 kilograms for the Siberian tiger. A male lion however weighs only around 160-190 kilograms and is about 2.9 meters long in Asia, however in Africa, the average lion weighs around 145-205 kilograms, which is still smaller than the tiger. `
Tigers have stronger legs and are more agile and active than lions and whilst you might not think so, are also more aggressive. Lions are known for being a bit lazy unless they have to do something! Lions only tend to be aggressive when they are attacking prey or defending the territory of their pride.
Lions have a max speed of 80 kilometers an hour but can only maintain it for a very short time. This is particularly slow compared to other animals, yet they are social animals and live and hunt in groups.
Lions like to get as close to their prey as possible and then display a sudden speed burst to kill the prey. When one lion is tired, the next lion in the pride starts to chase and sometimes other lions wait and advance somewhere else whilst the other lions in the pride chase their prey towards them. This means although lions are slower, their teamwork proves successful.
Tigers are solitary hunters yet can run faster than 80 kilometers an hour. They can only sustain this for a short amount of time but can jump high using their hind legs and can approach in the dark due to their incredible night vision.
They can use the power in their front paws to break the skill of their prey in one smooth swing. So although tigers are more powerful in this respect, they would still not win in a fight against two or more lions at the same time.
So Who Is The King?
It might seem from the size, behavior, speed, and power that the tiger should be crowned king. However, the lion claims the title because of its kingship abilities that the tiger does not possess.
A king must possess leadership qualities and the lion remains head of his colony. He oversees his group of lions including the lioness and cubs. This ranges from hunting to decision-making and more.
When there is a need for food, the lion provides. However, he rarely does the work himself and as a king, commands the lioness and others to go hunting for him.
The lion is a protector of territory and just as a king makes sure their community is safe, the lion protects its pride. He stops intruders and since the tiger is a solitary animal, this is a key difference and determining factor in who takes away the crown.
The lion is also powerful according to legend and in ancient times, his strength was a leading quality of a king. The lion must be powerful both physically and in battle and together with the pride, the species are the most powerful in the jungle.
From legend and how the lion protects its pride, it can be said that the lion is King of The Jungle. However, just as kings can be dethroned, so can lions if they do not deliver their duties.
He can always be replaced. That being said, the lion wins this battle, but do not underestimate the power of the tiger. Both cats rule the jungle and the power and strength of each are unmatched by any other animal.