Lion vs. Tiger: What’s the Difference Between Lion and Tiger?

Did you know that there are many differences between lions and tigers? While both are big cats, they are different in many ways. Learn about their differences here.
Lion vs Tiger: 10 Major Differences You Need To Know

Both lions and tigers belong to the cat family however they differ in many aspects. The biggest lion vs. tiger difference lies in their appearances. Where a lion has dark brown fur all over the body, a tiger features orange fur with brownish-black stripes throughout. 

Let’s take a closer look at the tiger vs. lion comparison:

FamilyBoth lions and tigers belong to the cat family
SizeTigers are generally larger than lions
ManeLions have a distinctive mane but tigers do not have any
Social habitsLions are social while tigers are loners

What is a Lion?

A lion is the second-largest member of the cat family. Lions are native to Africa and India. They have a muscular body with dark brown fur.

What is a Lion?

What is Tiger?

Tiger is the largest among the cats. Tigers are native to India and Russia. They are known for their distinctive dark vertical stripes on the orange-brown fur.

What is Tiger?

Strengths and Weaknesses of a Lion and a Tiger

Lion Strengths and Weaknesses 

Strengths of a Lion

  • Lions are fast runners with a speed between 45 to 50 miles per hour.
  • Lions hold the status of hunting and taking their prey down in almost all cases.
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Weaknesses of a Lion

  • Lions are not great swimmers.
  • Lion has lesser striking strength in a fight when compared with the rest of the big cats.
Lion Strengths and Weaknesses

Tiger Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths of a Tiger

  • Tigers are muscular and hence, have more strength.
  • Tigers are great swimmers.

Weaknesses of a Tiger

  • Tigers are slow runners when compared with the fellow big cat family members. Except for the Amur Tiger, tigers can run at 30 to 40 miles per hour only.
  • Tigers can be easily taken down by other big cats when attacked by a group.
Tiger Strengths and Weaknesses

Lion vs. Tiger Size Comparison

Lions measure 6 to 11 feet from head to tail. Whereas tigers can range anywhere between 8 to 12.8 feet in length.

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Tiger and Lion Examples 

Examples of Lions

  • Asiatic Lion
  • Congo Lion
  • Katanga Lion
  • Barbary Lion
  • Masai Lion

Examples of Tigers

  • Bengal Tiger 
  • Siberian Tiger
  • South China Tiger
  • Sumatran Tiger
  • Malayan Tiger

Looking At The Similarities Between Lions and Tigers

  • Both these cats belong to the same genus called Panthera.
  • Both are big cat family members.
  • Both lions and tigers are apex predators as they are on the top of their food chain. 

10 Key Differences Between Lions and Tigers That You Need To Know

Here are some major differences between lions and tigers for better distinction:

Basis Lion Tiger
Scientific NameLion is known as Panthera Leo.Tiger is known as Panthera Tigris.
WeightThe average weight of a lion stands around 180 kg.The average weight of a tiger is around 230 kg.
ManeLion has a distinctive mane that sets the cat apart.Tiger lacks mane.
FurLion has dark brown fur with a tanned tail.Tiger has orange fur with brownish-black stripes all over the body.
HabitatLions prefer open grasslands or savannas.Tigers love to live in forests of all kinds.
Family setupLions love to live in family groups.Tigers do not tolerate even their siblings.
TemperamentLions are less aggressive than tigers.Tigers are aggressive.
Social behaviorLions are social cats.Tigers are loners.
War StrategyLions love to wage wars first and that, too, in groups.Tigers like to fight alone. That said, it rarely makes the first move.
LifespanLions can live anywhere between 15 to 20 years. Tigers have a lifespan of 8 to 12 years.

Comparison Chart

Did you know that there are many differences between lions and tigers? While both are big cats, they are different in many ways. Learn about their differences here.

Comparison Video

Difference between Lion and Tiger | Tiger vs Lion Comparison

Lion and Tiger FAQs 

What’s Bigger, a Tiger or a Lion?

When comparing lion vs. tiger size, a tiger is reported to be around 20% bigger. Where lions can reach a maximum length of 11 feet, tigers can measure 12 feet from head to tail. Tigres are also heavier than lions by at least 100 pounds.

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Are Tigers and Lions the Same Species?

No. Tigers belong to the species P. Tigris whereas lions fall under P. Leo. 

How do Tigers and Lions Compare?

Tigers are longer, muscular, and heavier than lions. The biggest comparison factor is the lack of mane in tigers. The tiger size vs. lion size comparison reveals that lions are taller than tigers. 

Can a Tiger Kill a Lion?

With more muscles and aggression, tigers can easily kill a lion. (Ref. 1)

Can Lion and Tiger Mate?

Yes. Liger is the best result of a lion and tiger mating. The next best offspring is Tigon. (Ref. 2)

Are Tigers more Aggressive than Lions?

Yes, tigers are more aggressive than lions. 

Why is a Tiger Not the King of the Jungle?

A king is someone who has his army with him, fights his enemies strategically, lives with his family, and is social enough to be loved. And tigers are everything opposite of all these qualities. It is a solitary animal, fights alone with no pre-planning, leaves his family at around 2 years of age, and is anti-social. 

Is a Tiger Stronger than a Lion?

With both stronger bite force and paw-swipe strength, tigers are, undoubtedly, stronger than lions. (Ref. 3)

Lion vs. Tiger Who Would Win?

With a greater striking length and stronger bite and paw force, a tiger would win a lion vs. tiger fight, any day. 

What’s the Difference Between a Male and a Female Lion?

The most striking difference between a male and a female lion is the mane. A male lion has it and a female lion doesn’t. Also, female lions are shorter and less heavy when compared to their male counterparts. 

The Final Words

Both lions and tigers are big cats. The lion and tiger size comparison reveals that tigers are larger than lions. The difference between tiger and lion appearance reveals that a tiger has dark stripes all over the body while a lion does not have any such stripes. A lion’s fur is dark brown while that of a tiger is orangish brown. Lions are social while tigers love to live alone.


Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

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