How High Can Lions Jump? (Comparison)

Lions are the true “king of the beasts” and one of the most popular big cats in the world. There are two recognized subspecies, although scientists believe more once existed.

Lions are strong, but apart from being strong, they are also excellent jumpers! Lions can jump up to 12 feet up.

How Far Can A Lion Jump Horizontally And Vertically?

Lions are excellent leapers, which helps them survive in their environment. These animals are native to Africa, although a small subspecies, the Asiatic lion lives near Gir Forest National Park in western India.

Lions can jump 12 feet horizontally and about 36 feet vertically. However, lion cubs cannot jump as high.

Why Do Lions Jump?

Like most big cats, lions jump when they are attacking their prey. Lions have a unique way of hunting using many different techniques. For example, some lions hunt alone, while others hunt in large packs.

When a lion spots their next meal, they stalk its prey quietly, typically sneakily lowering its stance. This is common with lionesses since they have slender bodies.

When lions get close enough to their prey, they charge quickly and pounce. They either try to jump on their prey or knock them to the ground.

That’s with small prey though. For larger prey, lions are assertive hunters and will work together to crowd around large prey. They strategically corner their next meal and then strike, killing them with their brute strength and numbers.

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Are Lions Good Climbers?

While some lions climb sturdy trees, especially when young, this habit doesn’t continue into adulthood. Lions are not good climbers.

When climbing a tree, they typically look awkward trying to find a way up with their size.

How Strong Are Lions?

Lions aren’t to be messed with. They are massive big cats that protect their pride. Lions are strong because they have compact bodies with muscles. They also have powerful forelegs.

Lions use their sharp and long teeth to penetrate through tough skin when hunting. The average adult male lion weighs between 330 to 550 pounds. They are also about 10 feet long and 2-3 feet tall.

These ferocious big cats are strong enough to take down an elephant. The average length of an elephant is 9-10 feet. They also weigh a lot more than lions, up to 13,000 pounds.

How Fast Are Lions?

Since lions are smart, calculating, and strong, you’d think they are fast too, but they aren’t!

Typically, lions can run up to 50 mph. While this sounds impressive, it’s only in short bursts since they lack the stamina to keep up with the speed.

Instead, a lion runs when they feel threatened or they are running toward their prey.

Lions have limited predators. Human poachers are the biggest threat to lions. While hyenas compete with lions for food sources, they rarely attack.

How Does A Lion’s Jump Compare To Other Big Cats?

Lions are impressive jumpers, but how do they compare to other big cats?

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There are about 40 types of big cats.


Tigers can jump up to similar heights. For example, a tiger can jump directly up to 16 feet in the air. Horizontally, with a running head start, they can get up to 25-30 feet.

Tigers and lions competed in the wild previously. However, with dwindling numbers, tigers and lions no longer cross paths in the wild.

Despite lions having more compact and muscular bodies, tigers are larger. This doesn’t mean that tigers would win in a battle. Lions have the advantage of hunting in groups.


Bobcats are a lot smaller than lions and they will never cross paths naturally in the wild. Bobcats are native to North America, while lions are only found in Africa.

Bobcats jump frequently, using this ability to climb and travel longer distances.

These adorable medium-sized cats can leap up to 10 feet, without breaking a sweat. However, it’s more common for a bobcat to jump 6 feet or lower and use the extra height to push themselves over gates and fences.

Mountain Lions

Mountain lions, despite having ‘lion’ in their name, aren’t lions. Instead, they are actually known as cougars, panthers, or pumas. These large cats live in mountainous regions and weigh up to 220 pounds. They are fierce and found all across the Americas.

Mountain lions are stealthy predators and similarly act like lions. They stalk their prey slowly before pouncing quickly. A mountain lion can jump 40 to 45 feet horizontally and about 15 feet up in the air.


Leopards are natural athletes with amazing running and jumping abilities. For example, these large cats are strong swimmers. Other than swimming, they also run up to 36 miles an hour in short bursts.

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Leopards also frequently leap, especially when running and hunting. In a single leap, they can move 20 feet forward and 10 feet up. Lions and leopards coexist. They live in the same general area without competing for food.


Photo: Ray in Manila / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cheetahs are the fastest land animals in the world. They are native to Africa and can run in short bursts of 60 to 70 mph.

Although cheetahs are fast runners, after running they take a 30-minute rest break before eating.

Cheetahs are impressive jumpers, easily overtaking lions. While sprinting, cheetahs can turn in mid-air quickly changing direction. Cheetahs also can jump 20 times their body length up to 20 feet in the air.


While jaguars can jump, lions have them beat! Jaguars typically jump up to 10 feet high.

These large cats are only found in the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal, however, they once roamed the southwest USA and parts of South America up to Argentina.

After lions and tigers, jaguars are the third largest big cat in the world. They use their weight to take down their large prey.

Final Thoughts

Overall, lions are fast runners and high jumpers. These large cats can jump up to 12 feet high and leap distances of 36 feet. 

Lions use their jumping abilities to hunt for large prey in groups pouncing after cornering them.

Nixza Gonzalez

Nixza is a highly experienced content writer with over five years of expertise in crafting expert blogs and digital content on the subject of animals. In addition to her writing skills, Nixza possesses a deep understanding of animal behavior and husbandry, honed through hands-on experience caring for her own pets and through her passion for gardening. When not working, Nixza can often be found spending quality time with her beloved animals, furthering her knowledge and deepening her connection to the natural world.

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