Lions in love

When we visited Botswana in 2010 we were lucky enough to stumble upon two lions during the mating season. Before witnessing this, I knew nothing about the actual process. According to our guide, when the female is ready she informs the male that it’s time. Here’s the really fascinating part: they mate approximately every 15 minutes for 4 days straight, day and night. It was amazing to witness. I didn’t get a video, but I’ll do my best to show you the process.

Hey look, a male and female lion

Hey look, a male and female lion

She gets up first

She gets up first



He gets up

He gets up

A little flirtation

A little flirtation

It quickly moves to this step

It quickly moves to this step

No disrespect to the male, but it is quick.

No disrespect to the male, but it is quick.

He's ready for a cat nap. Remember, he has to repeat this in 15 minutes.

He’s ready for a cat nap. Remember, he has to repeat this in 15 minutes.

She rolls around on her back. According to our guide she does this to ensure the mating is successful

She rolls around on her back. According to our guide she does this to ensure the mating is successful



Do you mind!

Do you mind!

I wish I could see their baby.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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54 Responses to Lions in love

  1. Wow – I’m so amazed that you got this close. Even with a long range lens, that is fantastic. I bet you will remember this forever.

  2. Me too – baby lions are sooooo cute!! But every 15 minutes? Holy crap! What a stud muffin LOL :).

  3. jmgoyder says:

    OMG – every 15 minutes! Fantastic photos and sooooooo interesting!

  4. bulldog says:

    And when finally done he takes a week off… lol… great captures… seen it like you did… talk about quick.. in our case the female seemed to voice this fact and on occasions gave him a clip behind the ear…

    • TBM says:

      I was surprised by his efficiency 🙂 This female didn’t complain about the quickness. I would have loved to seen the female voice her complaint. One of our friends recorded the event but were disappointed since it was so short.

  5. aFrankAngle says:

    You are lucky to have experienced lion porn. 😉

  6. great pictures! it’s like watching those nature shows on tv. 🙂 somebody should make a video series of your travels

  7. bocafrau says:

    That;s pretty amazing. Ahhh, mother nature…

  8. nrlymrtl says:

    Yep. Many mammals have a penile bone that allows the males to come to erection very quickly and to perform every 15 minutes. Alas, the human male lacks this bone.

    • TBM says:

      LOL, I’m not even sure what to say. I always love your comments since I don’t expect them at all. Are there other species that mate every 15 minutes for days then?

      • nrlymrtl says:

        apes, etc. Another odd fact which is not for the faint of heart: In the primate world, the larger the testicles, the smaller the penis. Oddly, the human male is the only primate this rule does not apply to. But, you can trick a man into saying he has the smallest balls ever if you leave off the last little bit of that odd factoid. hehe.

      • TBM says:

        Oh that is good to know! Now I need to mess with some minds–oh the power!

      • nrlymrtl says:

        I once got a macho dude to say I would need a microscope to see his balls – in front of other dudes. It was hilarious.

      • TBM says:

        Oh that’s great. I love it!

  9. Fergiemoto says:

    OMG – every 15 min for 4 days straight – night and day!!! That sounds exhausting just reading it.
    You captured some great photos here, and how fortunate to be able to witness this.

  10. Lucid Gypsy says:

    They must be hungry at the end of all that!

  11. Brilliant post but like everyone else I’m thinking…ouch!

  12. winsomebella says:

    That type of a photo shoot is a dream for me….love these.

  13. lynnsbooks says:

    Every 15 minutes – no wonder they look so underwhelmed by it all! And now we know why the females do the hunting – the males are exhausted.
    Lynn 😀

    • TBM says:

      Yes. I used to think the males were super lazy 🙂 Then I found out about this. Oh and they patrol the territory all night for intruders. I saw a couple of females hunting and I have to hand it to them, they know what they are doing. And they work together. Thank goodness we didn’t see the kill. It was an odd feeling. I was cheering on the lions and the prey. Fortunately the guide had to get us back to camp so I only saw a few minutes. That was plenty. My adrenaline was pumping.

      • lynnsbooks says:

        I didn’t know they patrolled the area for intruders. Okay, let them sleep all day then in that case!
        Whenever I watch any sort of nature story I’m always torn with the chases between the predator and the prey. Really I want the prey to make it and I feel so sad for them – but then if the predator wasn’t successful they wouldn’t survive. It’s nature after all!
        Lynn 😀

      • TBM says:

        I have the same issues Lynn. when I watch those shows I usually flip the channel during the hunting scenes. Too stressful for me.

  14. I have a video of mating lions in the Ngorongoro Crater – I’ll have to fish it out for you (although its probably got awkward giggling in the background – you feel strangely pervy for paying such avid attention to a couple of lions going at it!)

    And I certainly don’t blame a female lion for being grumpy afterwards – imagine how much more pissed off women would be if we were screwing men with spines on their Mr Bojangles! 😉

    • TBM says:

      Oh I understand the giggling. When we sat in the jeep I kept thinking, “Are we going to watch them have sex? Is that right?” But I couldn’t stop looking to give them privacy.

      LOL–spines on their Mr Bojangles. Thanks for the laugh to start my day.

  15. pattisj says:

    I want to see the baby, too! They sure are beautiful creatures. I’m amazed at the innate behavior in every living thing.

  16. samokan says:

    Stop pepping 🙂 …
    Seriously, that is soooooo cool.

  17. The Hook says:

    Brilliant shots!

  18. liz2you says:

    Oh, that was amazing! Africa, maybe I am biased. Bring it on, love it!

  19. The Guat says:

    Dude. That did seem kind of quick. A second of flirting and then BAM! … Crazy lions.

  20. Novroz says:

    I love that last photo, it’s as if they are saying “Can we have a privacy, please”

    You’re so lucky TBM!

  21. unbelievable. how fortunate you were to see this. thanks for share and always expanding my horizons. i am more grateful than i can say.

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