Those who have visited a lion habitat like ours at Animal Kingdom know that Hondo, Azizi, and Hatari are often seen sprawled out sleeping or resting during the day. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend so much time in one position, copious amounts of beauty rest are actually quite normal for lions and help this iconic species preserve energy for times when they need it most.
As a predator, lions need to be well rested and alert in order to hunt their prey and defend their prides. As such, they tend to sleep and nap through most of the hottest hours of the day. They become active again as the sun sets and into the night when things begin to cool down.
While lions do not typically sleep in trees on the African savannah, they are known to enjoy resting and napping in trees when they reside in jungles and forests. This is because the trees in these environments are usually tall and have branches that can support a lion’s weight.
Regardless of the environment in which they live, it is believed that lions will sleep in a variety of locations including in tall grass, under dense brush and bushes, underneath fallen logs, in cave openings, or in the shade of rock formations and other structures. These shaded areas offer them a respite from the hot and sweltering African sun and allow them to sleep comfortably in cooler temperatures. They are also known to doze and snooze in the rocky coverings that are often found near rivers, streams, and waterfalls as these areas offer them even more respite from the sun.