We spotted these two lions on the road in Kruger National Park. They were in the process of mating. With lions this can be quite the operation… Female lions need to mate every 15 or 20 minutes to ovulate, this is called induced ovulation. They do this for 3 – 4 days. It is necessary to ensure fertilisation.
As female lions are not picky when it comes to males, this delayed mating process will often give the dominant male the chance to reach the female. He will depose any inferior males and take over…
When the lioness is ready to mate she will approach the male with a swaying motion and flick her tail in his face before lying down in front of him. The actual mating lasts only a few seconds… the female will growl during the mating and swipe at the male after. After swiping the male she will roll on her back. Both the male and the female will loose condition during this time as hunting is far from their minds. If the mating has been successful about three and a half months later some cubs will be born, anything from 1 – 6 cubs may be born. These she will wean after 10 months and then take a little break. 20-30 months after the birth she will come back into oestrus and give the male her signals to start the process again.
– Chantel (Jenman Safaris guide)