Lionesses grow manes and start acting like lions

Lion researchers are baffled after their latest discovery on a group of lions. It happened at the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana. The researchers of the University of Sussex noticed that no more than five lionesses in the region have grown manes. More than that it seems they are exhibiting very male-like behavior, such as marking territory and even roaring, among others.

Even if there were some cases with females roaring. In this particularly situation the lionesses roar on a regular basis, which is a male’s specific attribute. On of those five females was spotted while she tried to attack two cubs from another pride. A very uncommon behavior among females.


Geoffrey D. Gilfillan, the lead researcher in the Moremi Game Reserve expedition said of one individual (called “SaF05”), “While SaF05 is mostly female in her behavior — staying with the pride, mating males — she also has some male behaviors, such as increased scent-marking and roaring, as well as mounting other females.”

“Although females do roar and scent-mark like males,  they usually do so less frequently. SaF05, however, was much more male-like in her behavior, regularly scent marking and roaring,” he said.


The experts believe that most like those females are infertile. Although they have been spotted matting with males but without any pregnancy results. The male similarities and behaviors are presumed to be due to increased levels of testosterone, says President and Chief Conservation Officer at Panthera, Luke Hunter. The testosterone is actually the reason of mane growth. At one female in a South African zoo who also developed a mane, the experts linked the high level of testosterone due to an ovary problem.

Jessica Vitale

Scientists do not believe that this will be a problem for lion populations as a whole, as all five of these lionesses live within the same area in Botswana’s Okavango delta.

In the video bellow you can see another similar case. This time with a white lioness at the Philadelphia zoo.

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