Big Cats - A Comparison in Real LIfe

We visited the zoo recently.  When I go to the zoo my objective is to have fun and see the animals.  Nothing more.  This trip at Froggy's request, we did a detailed study of the big cats spending probably a couple of hours over the course of the day viewing them. 
 These are juvenile male lions.  They are just starting to get their manes.  Froggy calls them teenagers.  We discussed how much faster lions reach maturity than people. Froggy saw these cubs shortly after they were born and has watched them grow.  When they were younger, they were allowed to play out in the enclosure with their sisters.  The girls are now separated to prevent inbreeding.

The girls came out later in the day.  This is one of the sisters with her bone.  There was still a good bit of meat on it and we got to watch her work on it.  The cubs are not playful anymore having learned much of what they need. They are now ready to put it into action.

There is a sign in front of the lion enclosure that shows the different calls the lions use to communicate with each other.  Froggy went back to the sign multiple times during the day. She listened to the different calls over and over.  Later over dinner, she regaled us with a conversation in Lion.  
We also visited the tigers.  There are two tigers at the zoo, each in separate enclosures.  We talked about how tigers are very solitary while lions want to be in a pride and work together.  There is a sign in fromt of the Tiger exhibit explaining that since tigers are an umbrella specie preventing their extinction is even more important.  I could tell from watch Froggy read the sign that she was not understanding it.  I offered to explain it to her and she declined.  Later over dinner, Froggy asked about what an umbrella specie is.  Abba said that lions are more an umbrella specie than tigers. And thus began a family discussion not only about what an umbrella specie is and how it works but different habitats.  Both lions and tigers are umbrella species for their individual habitats.  They do not overlap environments at all.

Trips like this are the epitome of child-led learning to me and fill my homeschooling heart with joy.


  1. What a great study on lions! Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday.


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