Oct 17

One of our all time favourites, The Lion King, has just been re-released into the cinemas. Here at ARKive, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to highlight some of the amazing species featured in the film.

Just can’t wait to be king

Lion cub photo      Two African male lions

The main storyline follows Simba, who we first see as a young cub and then follow his story as he grows up into a majestic adult lion. Simba eventually becomes king of his pride, but has to defeat his evil uncle Scar in the process. In the wild, male lions often have to compete in fierce and sometimes fatal battles in order to win over tenure of a pride.

Villainous hyeanas

Spotted hyaena photo

The trio of spotted hyaenas, Shenzi, Banzai and Ed, all follow orders from Scar. In the film they have a crazed laughter, which isn’t far from the truth. In the wild, spotted hyaenas communicate with members of their clan with whoops, yells, and a manic cackle, which sounds like laughter.

Hakuna matata!

Meerkat photoCommon warthog photo













The comedy duo of the film, Timon and Pumbaa are an unlikely yet hilarious pair, a meerkat and a warthog. Both species are social animals, with meerkats living in large groups, and warthogs often living in groups of either males or females. The two aren’t so likely to hang out in real life, but the duo are are amazingly entertaining to watch!

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts!

Southern yellow-billed hornbill photo

The trusted advisor to Mufasa, Zazu is a southern yellow-billed hornbill, and quite a funny character in the film. This species is characterised by its long yellow beak, making this bird look as serious as Zazu’s character.

‘Asante sana, Squash banana’

Mandrill photo

My favourite character in the film, the eccentric Rafiki, is an old and wise mandrill. Mandrills certainly look like wise creatures with their distinctive blue and red faces, and just like Rafiki’s singing in the film, they are noisy animals with members of the group communicating with deep grunts and high pitched crowing.

What is your favourite Lion King species on ARKive?

Rebecca Taylor, ARKive Media Researcher