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African Lion vs. Grizzly Bear: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on October 19, 2023
African Lion is a big cat species native to Africa, while Grizzly Bear is a large bear found in North America.

Key Differences

The African Lion, often just called a lion, belongs to the big cat family and is indigenous to the African continent. Grizzly Bear, on the other hand, is a subspecies of brown bear and makes its home predominantly in North America. These two magnificent creatures are apex predators in their respective habitats but have different hunting techniques and prey preferences.
African Lions are known for their social behavior, living in prides consisting of related females, their offspring, and a small number of adult males. Grizzly Bears, conversely, are more solitary by nature, although mothers are known to stay with their cubs for several years. While lions thrive in open grasslands and savannahs, Grizzly Bears prefer forests, alpine meadows, and coastlines.
When it comes to their physical appearance, African Lions are characterized by their tawny color, and adult males sport a distinctive mane. Grizzly Bears have a more robust physique, with a dished face, humped shoulders, and a fur color that can range from blond to dark brown. This fur often has white-tipped hairs, giving them a "grizzled" appearance, hence their name.
A major distinction between the African Lion and the Grizzly Bear lies in their diet. While lions are purely carnivorous and rely on hunting herbivores, Grizzly Bears are omnivores. Their diet includes fish, especially salmon, berries, plants, small mammals, and occasionally larger prey.

Comparison Chart


Africa, primarily grasslands and savannahs.
North America, especially forests.

Social Behavior

Live in prides (social groups).
Mostly solitary, except mothers with cubs.

Physical Characteristics

Tawny color with males having a mane.
Dished face, humped shoulders, varied fur colors.



Life Span

Approximately 8-12 years in the wild.
20-25 years in the wild.

African Lion and Grizzly Bear Definitions

African Lion

A big cat species native to the African continent.
The African Lion is revered as the King of the Jungle.

Grizzly Bear

Recognized by its humped shoulders and "grizzled" fur.
The Grizzly Bear's unique appearance makes it easy to distinguish from other bears.

African Lion

Apex predator in its habitat, hunting herbivores.
The African Lion often hunts in coordinated groups.

Grizzly Bear

Known for its strength and power.
The Grizzly Bear's strength is unmatched in the animal kingdom.

African Lion

Males possess a distinctive mane.
The mane of an African Lion can signify age and health.

Grizzly Bear

A subspecies of brown bear native to North America.
The Grizzly Bear is an iconic symbol of the American wilderness.

African Lion

Known for living in social groups called prides.
An African Lion pride often consists of several related females and their cubs.

Grizzly Bear

An omnivore, consuming a varied diet.
During salmon spawning season, Grizzly Bears can be seen fishing in rivers.

African Lion

Primarily resides in open grasslands and savannahs.
The African Lion's habitat provides ample opportunity to stalk prey.

Grizzly Bear

Prefers habitats like forests, alpine meadows, and coastlines.
A Grizzly Bear may cover vast territories in search of food.


What is the primary diet of an African Lion?

African Lions are carnivores, primarily hunting herbivores.

Where is the African Lion predominantly found?

The African Lion is primarily found in Africa, especially in grasslands and savannahs.

Why is the Grizzly Bear named "grizzly"?

It's named for its fur's "grizzled" appearance, with white-tipped hairs.

Are African Lions social animals?

Yes, African Lions are social and live in groups called prides.

How do Grizzly Bears generally live?

Grizzly Bears are mostly solitary, except for mothers with their cubs.

Is the mane of an African Lion an indicator of anything?

Yes, a lion's mane can signify age, health, and virility.

How do the hunting techniques differ between them?

African Lions often hunt in coordinated groups, while Grizzly Bears rely more on their individual strength and opportunistic behavior.

What region is the Grizzly Bear native to?

The Grizzly Bear is native to North America.

What do Grizzly Bears eat?

Grizzly Bears are omnivores, eating plants, berries, fish, and some larger mammals.

Are both African Lions and Grizzly Bears apex predators?

Yes, both are top predators in their respective habitats.

Are Grizzly Bears good swimmers?

Yes, especially when fishing for salmon.

How powerful is a Grizzly Bear's sense of smell?

Extremely powerful, even better than that of a hound dog.

Are Grizzly Bears hibernators?

Yes, Grizzly Bears hibernate during winter months.

Are African Lions endangered?

African Lion populations are declining, and they are classified as vulnerable.

How do Grizzly Bears react to humans?

They usually avoid humans, but can be dangerous if surprised or threatened.

What's the lifespan of a Grizzly Bear in the wild?

Grizzly Bears can live 20-25 years in the wild.

How long does an African Lion live?

In the wild, African Lions typically live for 8-12 years.

How do African Lions communicate?

They use vocalizations, body language, and scent marking.

Can Grizzly Bears climb trees?

Younger bears can climb, but adults are generally too heavy.

How fast can an African Lion run?

They can reach speeds of up to 50 mph in short bursts.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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