Difference between Lion and Tiger

Key Difference: A Lion and a Tiger belong to different classes. Tigers belong to Panthera Tiger, and they hunt alone. Whereas, Lions belong to Panthera leo, and they like to hunt in group, known as 'pride'.

Lion or Panthera leo is a feline from the Felidae family that can reach a total body weight up to 250kg (550lb). Lion is known as the second largest cat after tiger. A lion's color varies from light buff to yellowish, reddish, or dark brown. The main thing about lions is that one can easily differentiate between a lion and a lioness, i.e. the male and the female lions. Lions are always seen in a group, and the group is known as ‘pride’. In the pride, there will be one male lion who is the head of the tribe, along with a number of other males and females. It is always the female lion who hunts food for her family. The females bring back their prey to the pride, and therefore, the male lions rely on the females for their meals.

One of the most distinctive characteristics of the species of cats is the ‘mane’. It makes the lion appear larger, providing an excellent intimidation display. Lion is one of the most inactive/laziest animal; he rests for around 16 to 20 hours a day. Cooperative hunting enables lions to prey on animals as large as wildebeests, zebras, buffaloes, young elephants, rhinos, hippos and giraffes, any of which can provide several meals for the pride. Mice, lizards, tortoises, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles also form part of a lion's diet. Because they often take over kills made by hyenas, cheetahs and leopards, scavenged food provides more than 50 percent of their diets in areas like the Serengeti plains.

Tigers or Panthera tigris is a feline from the Felidae family that can reach a total body length of 11ft and weight up to 306kg. Due to poaching and loss of habitat, tigers have been classified as endangered by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Tigers have a large muscular body with powerful forelimbs, which are used for hunting and climbing. Fur color of tigers varies between shades of yellow, orange and brown; with white around the stomach and black stripes along the back. They have long whiskers and circular pupils with yellow irises. A tiger’s stripes are as unique as fingerprints for humans; each tiger’s stripes differ from other, making it easier to identify them.

Tigers are very territorial and may mark their territories through urinating on nearby plants and trees, spraying anal gland secretions or marking trails with scat. Tigers are strong swimmers and enjoy bathing or cooling off in nearby ponds. A tiger’s diet consists of large to medium size animals such as Sambar, chital, barasingha, wild boar, gaur, nilgai and both water buffalo and domestic buffalo, deer, moose, sloth bears, crocodiles, etc. Tigers prefer to hunt at night and the stripes work as camouflages.

Both lions and tigers are part the cat family. They are huge, and are never hunted by any animal. Fortunaltely, they only face risks in life while hunting. The only threat to each is the manipulation of man whether through hunting of the big cat itself or its prey, deforestation and agricultural development leading to fragmentation of their habitat. As big cats that have to hunt for their food, both lions and tigers share a number of anatomical features. Both have sharp, retractable claws, both have powerful legs and both have a sharp set of fangs with which to deliver deadly bites to their prey.

Comparison between Lion and Tiger:




Methodical name

Panthera leo

Panthera tigris

















Weight up to 250 kg

Weight up to 306 kg

Life time

10 to 14 years (Adult, in Wild)

20 to 26 years (in captivity)


Lions hunt in group (prides)

Tigers are solitary hunters


Lions usually stand a little taller at the shoulder; they have a plain brown skin with a small black spot in the body.

Tigers have black stripes all over the body.


Lion's color varies from light buff to yellowish, reddish, or dark brown.

They have only one color that is brownish with black stripes.

Jaw and Teeth

Heavy pressure jaws and 3 inch canines.

Wide mouth that has strong teeth 4 inch canines.


Female lions hunt for their family at night. They will sometimes hunt in the daytime, but the most female prefer to hunt in night to make it difficult for the prey.

Tigers prefer to hunt at night.

Brain size

Of all the cats, they have huge brain except tiger.

Their brain is 25% larger than a lion, and is very fast to reach to the maturity level.


They are adjustable with any food sources that are from medium or large. Most noticeable are hippopotamus, elephant, rhinosauras, zebra, etc.

They only hunt large animals such as deer, buffalo, wild pigs, etc.


Lions are found in savannas, grasslands, dense bush and woodlands.

Bengal (Indian) tiger, the Indochinese tiger, the Sumatran tiger, the South China tiger, the Malayan tiger and Siberian (Amur) tiger. Tigers live in the wild in many regions throughout the globe, however, most can be found in Nepal, Tibet, India, South China, Sumatra, and Asia. Mostly, all of the present-day tigers descended from the tigers that were originally in South Central China.


Lions spend a large amount of their time resting and are motionless for about 20 hours per day.

Tigers sleep on rocks, and they sleep around 18 to 20 hours a day.

Image Courtesy: hdwallpapers.in, topsixlist.com

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