Contest Directions: Photoshop this lion image (click to download) any way you wish. Some examples are: merging these lions with some other animals, making these lions perform some tricks, using the lions in advertisements, movies, paintings, using these lions into some unusual environment. These are just some ideas.
Many thanks to Kimberlee Kessler Design and Stock Exchange for providing the source image.
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This contest is fueled by the following news: The lion (Latin: Panthera leo) is a member of the mammalia class, in the order Carnivora of the Felidae family.
Lions are unique cats, in which males strikingly differ from females. Adult male lions differ with a huge mane and look much larger than the lionesses. The lion is considered an adult at the age of 5 and by this age, it grows into its optimum "fighting" size. Males weigh around 190-280 kg and in individual cases up to 300 kg where the body length without tail is 1.7-2.5m and tail - 90 - 110 cm, height in withers 90-125 cm.
The Indian (Asian) lion subspecies weigh 190-250 kg. Its mane is not so dense and much more closely attached to the body, as if it is smoothed-over. The body of these subspecies is stocky, which gives a deceptive impression about its smaller size in comparison with the African lion. The lion differs from its close relative the tiger in few other body proportions. The tiger is little bit longer and the lion is taller at the shoulders and has a slightly extended skull but basically, these two huge cats are approximately the same size and also have the same force. For example, the bite force of a tiger and a lion can reach up to 450 kg and the power of a blow by a paw can reach up to 180 kg and a speed of a blow by the paw could reach up to 6 km/sec. Looking at the eternal question, who is stronger, the lion or tiger, then according to studies by American scientists, the lion has more experience in battles than a tiger as the tiger prefers to lead a lonely life which means that the lion has more than a chance of a victory in a fight. The way of life of lions is not typical for big cats. Lions live in big family groups – Prides. Hunting and looking after the cubs is basically done by females and the male lions protect the territory. The fight for a female often ends with the death of the male protector or aspirant. Some prides are specialized in one type of prey (some lions only hunt only elephants). An adult male is capable of eating more than 30 kg of meat in a single meal. A satisfied lion can sleep for almost 20 hours. If required, it kills members of other cat families and hyenas.
Lions live in steppes and savannas and hunt large and average-sized animals, first of all, ungulate mammals. Living in groups (pride) helps the lions in hunting large animals (buffalos and giraffes). Lionesses disperse and take specific positions. Lionesses-blanchers exist, which creep up to a small distances from the prey and wait in ambush and then take a lunge towards the chosen prey. The male lion helps in the kill of a large animal if brute force and weight is required.
In the twilight, hunting tactics change and the lionesses, one after the other silently move into the darkness and surround the herd. If males help them, some terrible roars of the male lion make the scared animals run towards the place where a lioness is waiting for the kill.
When zebras and wildebeests are about, lions exclusively feed on them. Usually a lion eats once every two to three days, but is capable of living without food for several weeks. The serious hunger danger sets in when the herd starts the seasonal migration onto the plains. So, the lioness with helpless newborn lion cubs sometimes remains single when the herds migrate and the pride goes after the herd.
Lions eat the prey strictly in an established order: first the abdominal cavity is opened and they eat the heart, liver and kidneys and then the meat along with the skin. The dominating male eats first even if it did not participate in the hunt. If game is plentiful at a certain time of the year and the lion is not especially hungry, then other members of the pride are also allowed to share the feast. Otherwise, the other members of the pride have to wait till the lion is satiated and only then can they have their share of the kill. The lion cubs eat last if there is still something remaining and quite often, the dominating male makes sure that the cubs get something of the kill.
During the mating period, the relationship between the partners is very gentle. The dominating lion mates with the female, which is on heat, for every twenty to thirty minutes and so on for hours.
Lions are accustomed to surplus and deprivation periods and therefore eat till they are full when food is available. But the satiated lion becomes sleepy and only rests when jackals, griffons and hyenas collect the remains of the kill. Lions sleep for 20 hrs a day in small islets of shade or in grass, heated by the savanna's sun.
The lion in symbolism:
Lions are called the "King" of the animals. The lion is the traditional symbol of power, embodying the power of the sun and fire. In heraldry, the lion symbolizes royal dignity and nobleness.