What makes a lion so handsome?

What makes a lion so handsome? Could it be their extraordinarily long, dual-colored tail? The lion's tail reaches two-thirds the length of its head and body, and is tipped with brownish-black pigment. The tail helps the cougar strut its stuff, but scientists aren't exactly sure why they have adapted this pattern. Or perhaps it is the richness of their coat? Take a look at this daytime video below to see the natural coloring of a lion in the wild.

While you are watching, see if you can tell whether the lion is male or female.

Unlike African Lions, male and female mountain lions don't have obvious traits you can use to easily distinguish between the two.  

The lion in the video above is female.  Did you get the answer right?

One noticeable feature is body size and mass. Females weigh 75-100 pounds, while males typically weigh 100 to 135 pounds. However, estimating size in a setting without familiar objects to compare the animal to can be a bit difficult.  And the age of the cat can also make this comparison tricky; lion a young male could easily be mistaken for an adult female if you were judging by size and weight alone.

 

Female on the left, big male on the right. She probably weighs not much more than 80 or 90 pounds. He's pushing 140 lbs. | Comparison photo: Johanna Turner | cougarmagic.com

Early Dutch traders were puzzled by the lack of a mane on a mountain lion in the Americas. They believed that males did have manes, but eluded hunters and scouts.  This assumption led to myths about "maned mountain lions" that existed only in the most remote and inaccessible mountains in the New World. It was thought to be crazy and risky to try to hunt them.

Regardless of their sex, mountain lions are muscular beauties that leave us fascinated by their unique tails and maneless bodies.

Lisa Wooden

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