About the Author

Nick Sims

Alumni Field Guide

Nick was a ranger at Londolozi from 2018 - 2022. He always had a love for nature. Growing up in Johannesburg, the annual family trip to the bush (particularly the Kruger Lowveld region of South Africa) became an escape from city life. When ...

View Nick's profile


on How Old is That Lion? Part 2

Join the conversationJoin the conversation

Interesting blog Nick. I am definitely going to try and age the next lion I see.

Informative series–has me looking through many old photos!

Thanks Nick….very informative info as to how to identify how old a lioness might be….really great indicators and makes for excellent observations …will be looking much more closely in future!….to you and all at Londolozi….Merry Christmas!…

Very interesting post! I always thought it must be difficult to tell the age of a lioness. I remember Lady Liuwa she was such a character with the black spot near her nose… Tsalala is a charm

Nick, I loved the photos. Kept the lion roaring🤗. Also saved lioness🤗

An interesting and informative blog Nick. Thanks for sharing with us. Be well and stay safe. Wishing all at Londolozi a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and healthy 2021.

Great information! I’m not sure if the same applies to a Leopard as well? I’ve always thought to myself their coat seems to indicate when they are old as well – is that true?

Hi Kara, many of the same principles go for leopards too; such as the scarring and teeth. As for the coat, it definitely seems to fade with age but it is difficult to use that as a reliable way to guess the leopard’s age.

Thanks for these interesting descriptions; next time on a safari I will try it out to estimate a lion’s/ or lioness’s age.

Okay, I’ll be studying the faces of lionesses going forward thanks to your clues. Perhaps by the time I begin my South African trip late March, I will have learned more about the ages of these beautiful ladies.

Super interesting Nick and the corresponding photos show great examples of what to look for 👌❤️…might not like to try to gauge the age based on the last photo though 😉

Very interesting! So many components to consider! Thanks for the tutorial! Love the pics!

Freckles on the nose – OK. Scars? Maybe. But trying to see the teeth and whether they are worn? Not so easy. We used to lift the lips of our pet cats or dogs. But I don’t think it would be a good idea to try this with a lion – somehow! Wendy M

Senior Digital Ranger

Thanks for the interesting follow-up to the previous post, I’m going to give it a try next time.

Nick, We enjoyed learning from you about their age. It’s quite different from the leopards for sure. The only lions we’ve ever been able to see named were the “tailess females”!

Great advice on how to age. I feel like I see a greater concave arch in their backs when older. Do you agree?

Great advice! I’ll try it. 🙂

In 2009, I went to the Lion & Elephant Park that was at Lake Chiveru in Zimbabwe and saw a Lion and 3 younger adults who were intent on a young Elephant on the other side of the fence separating. The younger adults were practising their ambush skills or, should I write “lack of ambush skills” because the younger adults would turn tail and scatter. The Lion was definitely because the skin on his face was ageing and sliding “south”. He was watching. Wonder what he was thinking? What is lion for “chicken”?

Super informative post, Nick. Thanks for all the little details!

Excellent series, Nick! And thanks for using my photo of the Tsalala female here. It brought me right back to that magical drive. Happy New Year!

Hi Steven! Thanks for letting me use the photo, it really is a good one! Hopefully we’ll see you back here sometime soon

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

One moment...
Be the first to this photo
You and 1 others this photo

Filed under
10 April, 2798
Add Profile