Lions, and the importance of having fun
Youngsters of all species enjoy a good time. In humans we often use it as a bonding experience, as stress relief or simply just to pass the time. It is similar within the animal kingdom, but in predators it also serves a larger and more important role. Practice.
At first glance it is easy to see the playfull intent in this youngester’s demeanour. Her tail is being flicked far and wide, an indication of excitement in these large cats. Her ears are perked up and focussed where she is looking, something has her attention. We can tell a lot about these apex predators by just looking at their body language.
As her “target” approaches she responds accordingly, plotting an interception. The stick in her mouth, well, is just there because she thought carrying it around would be fun.
Running, pouncing and stalking are all skills that are honed through playing. These are skills that will later become absolutely needed for survival, there are no weak links in a lion pride.
It is always important to asses your “target” before a fight, even if it is just a play fight. The youngsters will also use this to establish dominance. This will effect who gets to eat first. It could also effect in males, if a coalition is formed, who the dominant male within the coalition would be.
Watching these apex predators fight may look harmless, but with their immense power they could cause serious harm to a human evn when using such a small percentage of their overall power.
As with all fights, knowing when to retreat is always a good skill to have!