During a safari in Africa it is very common to see the king of the savannah lying in the shade to doze; lions are lethargic for most of their lives and spend up to 20 hours a day at rest, and after a hearty meal, the lions can even sleep for up to 24 hours.
This, at first glance, may seem pure laziness, but, in terms of survival, it makes perfect sense.
In fact, to survive, the lions must hunt for food, and must protect their territories; these activities require a lot of energy and it is not unusual for a male lion to travel up to 20 km in one night to patrol its territory.
If the lions moved during the heat of the day they would waste precious energy and would be forced to hunt more frequently to feed themselves; while these felines prefer the hours of dusk and night to hunt, when temperatures are lower and their visual ability gives it a significant advantage over their prey.
Male lions spend 18 to 20 hours a day snoozing, while females "only" from 15 to 18 hours; this because the lionesses do all the hard work: they hunt most of their prey and spend time taking care of the cubs.
We talk about "snoozing" because the lions do not have a deep sleep, but are always vigilant and, as good opportunists, if there is an opportunity to be seized, they do not let them escape.
But is this behavior typical of all lions or does it vary according to the territory?
The territory where they live and the climate have a strong influence on the habits of the lions, if in their territory there are water sources, that attract prey during the day, the lions will be active during the day and will hunt at these water sources, in the same way a cool climate promotes the activity of the felines during the day.
Even the structure of the herd affects the hours of rest, for example the lions of the Addo National Park in South Africa sleep only 14 hours a day, this is due to the fact that they do not have established social groups, so they need to spend more time protecting themselves from the other lions and elephants, present here in large numbers, that could trample them.
Even the abundance of prey affects the duration of sleep, if the prey is scarce the hunting requires more time and more travel.
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