Lions vs Tigers: 5 Main Differences

Lions vs Tigers: 5 Main Differences

Lions and tigers are part of the big cat family. Both creatures are fierce, strong and powerful, but they also have many differences. So let’s check out five ways in which the two species are not at all the same. You might be surprised just how unique they are.

#1 They Don’t Look the Same

The most obvious difference between a lion and a tiger is the way they look. While tigers have bold black stripes across their bodies, lions don’t have those particular types of markings. Did you know that the stripe of every single tiger is as unique as a human fingerprint meaning that no two tigers are the same? Male lions also have a big furry mane around their faces. The size and condition of the mane indicates a lion’s strength and fitness. Tigers do not have this feature.

#2 Tigers are Heavier and More Muscular

Interestingly, tigers tend to be heavier and more muscular than lions. Experts predict that tigers are around 70% muscle in comparison to a lion, which is 60% muscle. Tigers are also longer in the body than lions, although lions are usually taller. Tigers have stronger legs and are much more agile. They tend to also be more aggressive and are considered the more dominant of the big cats when compared. If the two were to fight, most experts would favour a Siberian or Bengal tiger over an African lion. Lions do have one advantage, however. They live and hunt in groups. While smaller, lions have been known to gang up on a lone tiger.

#3 Lions Live in Large Groups, Tiger’s Do Not

This leads nicely onto the third difference. Lions usually like to live in large groups known as ‘prides’. The pride is led by a dominant male lion while the females of the group are the hunters, tasked with bringing prey back to the pride. The group works together to maximise their chances of survival in the wild. In contrast, tigers prefer to live and hunt on their own and leave their mother and siblings at a young age. They hunt for their own prey and eat their catch alone.

#4 Tigers Love Swimming, Lions Prefer Solid Ground

Another significant difference between lions and tigers is that tigers love swimming. They enjoy splashing around in the water and are considered to be one of the most skilful swimmers within the big cat family. Lions, however, do not swim unless they absolutely have to. While they can swim when needed, they prefer remaining on solid ground. The only reason a lion might go in the water is to cool down on a hot day. They might also swim across water to reach another part of land.

#5 Tigers Have Bigger Brains

The lion has the largest brain out of all the big cat species - except the tiger. The tiger has the largest brain of all cats. In fact, it’s 25% larger than a lion. It was thought that social species like lions would need a larger brain than animals that live alone, because they need to handle more complex social interactions. However, research has shown that this is not necessarily the case.

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'This Tiger is the cat's meow'

The Times


'Perfectly pitched adaptation'

Daily Telegraph


'A delight from start to finish'

Time Out