Female lions are known as lionesses. Male and female lions are the only members of the cat family with distinguishable physical characteristics. Lionesses have short, stiff, tan fur and lack the mane that distinguishes male lions.
Three to twenty lions live together in groups known as prides. Several lionesses and their cubs, along with one to four male lions, comprise the pride. The lionesses are responsible for the majority of hunting and cub rearing, while the male lions patrol the territory and defend the pride from invaders. Female lions have litters of three to four cubs at a time, and they raise the cubs in a group, frequently nursing each other’s offspring.