How Much Do Lions Weigh?

Question: How much do lions weigh?

Generally, a wild male lion will weigh between 330 to 570 pounds while the female lioness will weigh around 270 to 400 pounds. 

Lion Average Weight and Size 

A fully grown male living in the wild, on average, will weigh about 420 pounds, while the female lioness will typically weigh around 280 pounds. In terms of size, the male lion far exceeds the female lioness with a height of around four feet and a length of up to 8 feet long. On the other hand, the female adult lioness will reach about 3.5 feet high and her length is between 4.6 to 5.7 feet. 

Male lions tend to be heavier than females which is actually helpful as they need the strength and power to overcome large prey and defend their territory and pride

Male lions also have quite a higher percentage of fat compared to other members of the cat species, such as the tiger. At 13.7 percent fat, the lion almost doubles the tiger who sits at 7.7 percent. As for muscle mass, the male lion typically has about 58.8 percent. 

Female lionesses, on the other hand, need to keep trim as they do the majority of the hunting and must be quick in order to catch their prey (and of course, raise their cheeky cubs).

And what about cubs! Well, after they’re born a cub will usually only weigh around three pounds but a steady flow of milk and food will see them grow up very quickly. It will only take a cub about four years to reach the adult average weight. 

According to a study into the comparative growth of wild male and female lions, lions will continue to grow till they’re about seven years old (for males) and nine to ten years (for females). After which both males and females will begin to lose their condition. Interestingly, the study also found that lions from East Africa are comparatively smaller in size than lions living in the more southern populations of Rhodesia, Kalahari and Kruger Park.

Obesity in Captivity 

Unfortunately, lions in captivity face the opposite food sourcing conundrum the wild lion faces. According to recent studies, lions in captivity face problems with obesity and inactivity. Why? Because of two main factors: human-provided menus and unnatural environments. In addition, obesity in lions can be caused by

  • Over-feeding: a lion is given more food than it can burn off with exercise. 
  • Group feeding: due to hierarchy, some lions may miss out while others eat too much. 
  • Decreased activity: can be related to age, health, and enclosure space. 
  • Contraceptives: can lead to a decrease in appetite. 
  • Lack of experience: an inability of a staff member to accurately distinguish between underweight and overweight.

Understanding a lion’s eating and exercising habits in the wild can inform the zookeeper (with adjustments) on how a lion should be responsibly fed, and cared for, in captivity.

Lion Fun Fact 

Lions are the second biggest species of cats in the entire world! But who’s number one? Well, the top prize goes to the tiger who outweighs the lion by around 200 pounds! So, who would win in a clash between a tiger and a lion? Well, in a one-on-one situation, some experts believe that a tiger would certainly beat a lion. However, it’s a different story when a lion has some backup. 

Frequently Asked Questions

People who ask, ‘How much do Lions weigh?’ also ask;

What weighs more, a lion or a tiger?

Tigers are heavier than lions, weighing up to 800 pounds compared to a lion who is around 550. Although it is hard to tell given they are of similar builds. This is because the tiger has a higher percentage of muscle mass around 72.6 percent compared to a lion which has 58.8 percent. In addition, the tiger only has 7.7 percent body fat while the lion has almost doubled at 13.7 percent. 

How much does a full grown lion weigh? 

A fully grown male lion will typically weigh around 330 to 570 pounds, whereas the female, who is typically much smaller, will only weigh about 270 to 400 pounds. On average, the male lion will be able four feet in height and up to 8 feet long while the female adult lion can grow as tall as 3.5 feet.  

What is a lion’s average weight?

In the wild, a fully grown adult male lion will weigh on average 420 pounds. While the female lioness will generally weigh about 280 pounds. However, in captivity, obesity is a serious issue for lions as they have no need to hunt for their food, thus, reducing physical activity and unfortunately, increasing lethargy. 

How much does a lion cub weigh? 

At birth, a lion cub will weigh around three pounds but they are quick growers and will reach their adult average weight once they are only about three to four years old. Yikes. 

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