Can lions climb trees?

Yes, lions can climb trees. The lions of Africa's Lake Manyara National Park in Tanzania and of Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda "often spend the day resting in the branches of a tree."¹ - See lion range.

It is thought that lions do this to get above insect bites including bites from tsetse and Stomoxyx flies. These flies congregate around bushes below branch height.

Another reason why these lions climb trees is to escape buffalo and elephants and for cubs to escape dogs. These large animals are dangerous to lions.

Lion in tree Lake Manyara National Park - photo by Catalpa 34

Young lions are good tree climbers and play in trees sometimes. Lions, though, are mainly terrestrial, meaning that most of their activities are on the ground. Some wildcats are tree dwellers. They live in the trees in forests. One such cat is the small margay. Lions are also good swimmers when they need to be but less good than the tiger.

Note: (1) Wild Cats of the World by Mel and Fiona Sunquist - ISBN-13: 978-0-226-77999-7 buy this book!

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