We’ve all heard of someone trying come hide a pregnancy; the entire period-drama genre would implode without the trope.

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But usually, the someone is human, not feline.

Lions, though, space notoriously secretive, if not around their pregnancies, 보다 at least about giving birth. When a mrs lion realizes she going right into labor, she’ll sneak away from the pride and hide herself in a an enig lair, whereby she’ll give birth to a litter the 2-6 cubs and stay with them for around three months.

Why all the secrecy? it’s simple: survival.

The odds are currently stacked versus a woman lion pass a cub come term; though pregnancies last just three and also a half months, and also female lions can enter estrus (a period of fertility) at any type of time the the year, it’s estimated that a female need to copulate, top top average, 3,000 times for each cub the survives past a year.

Part of that is just the harshness the life in the wild; countless lion cubs starve, both in infancy and also beyond. A woman lion has actually only four teats, therefore litters bigger than 4 generally won’t every survive. And also once cubs have returned to the pride, once food is scarce, they frequently go unfed, an interpretation they frequently starve. The explains component of the reason lions get in hiding when offering birth; lionesses will permit any cub in the pride to suckle (they group-mother the cubs), and also older cubs room as hungry because that mother’s milk as brand-new-babies. If she stayed with the proud to give birth, a lioness’s milk would most likely never do it come her very own young.

Injury, teething, and an illness can also carry off young cubs. Overall, somewhere between 60 and also 70% of the cubs will die within their very first year, and also even fewer—about 1 in 8, or 12.5%—live to adulthood (lions mature roughly two years old).

But another significant killer that lion cubs is also crueler than starvation: it’s various other lions.

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That’s not a smile…Photo by Thomson Safaris guest, Neil Rabinowitz

Females will continue to be with the proud their whole lives, however males room ejected as soon as they begin to thrive their manes, approximately two years of age. In stimulate to join a brand-new pride, they have to essentially take it over (hey, girlfriend don’t obtain the surname “king the the beasts” there is no a serious love for power struggles). As soon as it go take end a brand-new pride, the very first thing a masculine will do is kill all cubs in the pride he there is no personally sired.

That’s one way to make sure your son ascends to the throne.

If there’s much more than one male lion in the pride, each may attempt to death the offspring of the rather at any type of time. When three-month old cubs room by no means ready to protect themselves, keeping them away for the first few months, once they’re most helpless (lion cubs can’t even run until four weeks ~ birth, a far-reaching time span contrasted to many wild animals) ups their chances of survival.

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So yes, it might be a dog-eat-dog world, yet at least for lions, it’s also a cat-kill-cat one.