ALONE ON THE PROWL
Most cats prefer the single life. Usually, big cats only tolerate company in order to mate or to raise their cubs. Big cats communicate with scent marks or roars to let their neighbors know, “This is my space. Keep out!”
But there’s one big exception: lions. Lions are the only cats that live in social groups, called prides. Within a pride, nearly every female is related. Moms, sisters, aunts, and cousins all work together to raise cubs and hunt for enough food to support the pride. A dominant male or two will guard the pride’s territory. He also babysits the cubs while their mothers are off hunting.
Young males are forced to leave the pride once they are old enough to hunt for themselves. These lions sometimes form small, all-boy gangs, called bachelor groups. The youngsters stay together until they’re big enough to challenge a dominant male for control of a pride.
Excerpted from National Geographic Kids Everything Big Cats by Elizabeth Carney. Copyright © 2011 by Elizabeth Carney. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic Children's Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.