Communication Methods Used by Lions

1208 (3 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

Table of contents


This report will explain the different communication methods used by lions (Panthera leo) and their reasons for it as well as discussing the costs and benefits of each. Animals have a variety of communication methods to show how they are feeling in a certain situation whether it be to warn others of danger, inform others of a good food source, claim territory, maintaining a dominance hierarchy, reducing the chance of being hurt in conflict or to attract a mate (Gillam, 2011). This is done by either tactile, visual, sound or chemical communication.


One method in which lions use to communicate is vocalisation. Loud “roaring” callings are used to allow social companions to maintain contact when they are separated by long distances (Grinnell et al, 2002).

Costs and Benefits

A benefit to this is the distance a call can travel. So, each individual does not have to be in sight of each other to know their location. However, this means that other species in the area will also hear this call giving them a warning that lions are present which could mean prey get away. Also, a cost to this communication method is the confusion that can occur. This is due to the same “roaring” calls also being used to claim territory. Therefore, if an individual is calling in the context of social cohesion, but another is doing the same for territorial reasons then competitors could come in the area and conflict may occur (Grinnell et al, 2002). The benefit to this is fights could be avoided because if a lion was to make a call, but in the social context, then this could prewarn other lions about their presence if they were unaware of it allowing them to avoid that area. Another cost to vocalisation is any other background noise in the area. This can deter the sound from the lion resulting again to mix communication and it may not be heard correctly so the wrong message could be received. Whereas the benefit to any background noise is it could distract other animals, such as prey, in the area so they are not aware of the lions presence which would increase their hunting success rate.

Ultimate and Proximate Causes

Each behaviour has a proximate (the immediate response) and ultimate (the reason for the response) cause (Dickinson et al, 2018). Since this communication can additionally be a method of telling another animal there is food available, the proximate cause to this is the lion being hungry and the ultimate cause is if the animal does not find food then they would starve which would eventually lead to death.


Chemical communication is another way lions communicate with each other. Urine is used to delineate the boarders of their territory and this scent informs others that crossing the line means conflict (Barja et al, 2010).

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Costs and Benefits

A benefit to this method of communicating is the lion shows its presence without having to be physically seen. However, if a lion urinates in another’s territory but did not mean for this to occur or was not certain the area had already been claimed, then the lions may disagree and conflict could occur. Even though this communication method cannot be changed quickly to alter the message, it does remain longer compared to sound which only lasts for as long as the animal makes that call. This means that a animal does not have to be present at the time when the lion urinates to get the message as the scent will still be there later. Another cost to this method is food could become scarce. If prey for the lion comes in their territory and they recognise the urine scent then they will avoid this area. Leaving the lion with less food in that region meaning they have to use more energy hunting and travelling further for this. However, this could mean when other lions knows there is already an individual of the same species in the area they will know it would be better to locate them self elsewhere for a better chance to hunt successfully.

Ultimate and Proximate Causes

Lions respond in this way to claim their territory and show they will fight if it is required (proximate cause). The reason for this response is so other individuals of the same species are not living close by as this would decrease the chances for finding food meaning more energy would be required for hunting. Additionally, if food becomes scarce this can eventually lead to starvation in the area (ultimate cause).


Another chemical type of communication is by spraying to attract a mate. This is done by the male to entice a female by spraying and scent marking the area they are in, as pheromones are secreted (Bhar et al, 2008).

Costs and Benefits

One benefit to this way of communicating is how it shows dominance as a clear hierarchy will be seen within the individuals which should avoid unnecessary conflict (Enk et al, 2019). Also, this will increase the chance of successfully finding a mater therefore the population will rise as an affect from this (Geary, 2015). However, other chemicals in the area can be an issue with this method. If other animals have also been around there, therefore leaving their scent, then this can cause confusion to the animal as it may not be a familiar smell to them, with them merging together. In addition, chemical communication cannot be changed quickly. If a lion produces pheromones but did not want to attract a mate, they cannot quickly change the message they are sending out, like they could if they were using vocalisation, which can again lead to conflict between a group of individuals.

Ultimate and Proximate Causes

The immediate response for this method of communication is to attract the attention from the female lion. The actual reason for this is so the animal can successfully find a mate, reproduce and increase the population.

Honest or Dishonest Communication

Animals communicate constantly in different ways and although most of this is honest, some can be dishonest (Bradbury et al, 2019). If a signal is honest then the sender is showing a signal that is reliable whereas dishonest signals are false information which are done to mislead the receiver. Dishonest communication helps the individual giving them an advantage in a certain situation (Nowicki et al, 2005).

An example of honest communication in lions is showing teeth. This shows other individuals that the sender will fight and is capable of causing harm, which is true if the lion feels threatened in any way (Plourde, 2008). However, this same signal could be used as dishonest communication. A weak lion could show their teeth, appearing menacing, but could be too sick or injured to do any harm. The receiver would not know this information and they would understand the lion will cause harm.


In conclusion, lions use a variety of methods to communicate to different individuals and each one transmits a different message, and each has its own cost and benefit. Not all these methods are beneficial and do have some problems, as information that is transmitted it not always exchanged accurately and this can cause confusion and lead to conflict. However, they have adapted to communicate in the best way possible in order to survive and thrive (Udell et al, 2013: page 259).

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
Communication Methods Used by Lions. (2020, December 24). WritingBros. Retrieved July 22, 2024, from
“Communication Methods Used by Lions.” WritingBros, 24 Dec. 2020,
Communication Methods Used by Lions. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2024].
Communication Methods Used by Lions [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 24 [cited 2024 Jul 22]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges