On safari in Serengeti National Park, our guide had heard that two lions had been mating since the day before. Some background from wikipedia: “during a mating bout, which could last several days, the couple copulates twenty to forty times a day and are likely to forgo eating”. “As with other cats, the male lion’s penis has spines which point backwards. Upon withdrawal of the penis, the spines rake the walls of the female’s vagina, which may cause ovulation.”
When we arrived, the lions were lying on the road.
The female got up and walked away. The male followed.
Of course, all the vehicles followed the couple. This vehicle was too close and not from our safari.
The lions continued walking and stopped again. The land cruisers followed.
The female got up and walked off, with the male close behind. Our guide said that the time is right.
The land cruisers tried to follow. The male mounted the female. After our vehicle stopped, I had time for only a single photo.
It seemed like it was over in an instant. Reviewing photo capture times, 20 seconds elapsed between the male following photo and the climax photo.
See the female reaching her head back and snarling. Evidently it hurts a lot when the male withdraws his penis and the backward-facing spines rake her vagina. I’ve read on another blog that the male makes a quick exit because the female might hurt him while in pain. Thirty seconds later, the female is resting.
Twenty-five minutes had elapsed since we first saw the lions on the road; the next cycle would probably take at least that long. It was 5:40 pm; we started the long drive back to camp.