Difference Between Tiger and Lion

Tiger vs Lion

Tiger and lion are two of the most dangerous carnivores in the animal kingdom with terrifying features that are adapted for exclusive hunting of other animals. The presence of these majestic creatures in a natural ecosystem demonstrates the ecological richness of the area, as they are the topmost trophic levels of the food chains. Despite both are big cats with similar type of features shared between them, it is not difficult to understand the primary differences between tigers and lions.


Tiger, Pantheratigris, is one of the flagship species, and they are the largest among all the felids in terms of body size. They are naturally distributed in South and Southeast Asia in dispersed forest patches with a limited number of individuals. In fact, they have been categorised as an endangered species by the IUCN since many years. There are six subspecies of tigers, and the Bengali tiger is one. The Sumatran tiger, Javan tiger, Malaysian tiger, Chinese tiger, and Siberian tiger are the other subspecies. These large animals average more than 300 kilograms of weight among males. However, their females are considerably smaller than males with a recorded maximum weight close to 170 kilograms. They are golden brown in colour with characteristic dark coloured stripes. There are white colour morphs of tigers due to mutations. Additionally, the golden tabby tigers are also a genetic cause of colour variation. They are agile and heavy, providing a super powerful strike on the prey animal that enables no escape. These popular and culturally important animals for humans have been causing an interesting influence with being the national animal of two countries.


Lion, Pantheraleo, is one of the iconic big cats that live mainly in Africa and some parts of Asia. Lion is the second largest among all the Felids; males exceed 250 kilograms in bodyweight. In addition, lion is the tallest of all the cats. Although they have stable populations in the wild, the trends have been identified as vulnerable to be a threatened species according to the IUCN red list. They are considered the kings of the jungle, as there would be no other animal to challenge a lion. In other words, they are apex or top predators of the ecosystem. Lions live in savannah grasslands as family units or groups known as prides including males. Males are responsible for maintaining the territories while females go for hunting. They usually hunt large ungulates and the whole family feed on a particular prey at a time. The fur coat of the lion is one of a kind as it does not have rosettes but usually uniformly coloured in buff to yellowish or dark ochraceous brown. The male lions have their bushy mane, which is not present in females. These sexually dimorphic big cats can live about 10 – 14 years in wild and more in captivity.


What is the difference between Tiger and Lion?

• Tiger lives only in Asia, whereas lions live mainly in Africa, but there is a small Asian lion population in India.

• Lions are social animals, living in prides, whereas tigers are solitary animals except during mating season.

• Male lions have a prominent mane but not the tiger males.

• IUCN categorize lion as threatened while tiger is categorized as endangered.

• Tiger has a golden brown coat with dark colour stripes, whereas lion has a uniformly coloured for coat of buff to yellowish or dark ochraceous brown without stripes.

• There are more colour morphs in tigers than in lions.