8 “The Lion King” Animal Species In Real Life (With Pictures)

Lion King is a good movie. You can watch it with your family, friends, and other loved ones. We tried our best to dig through the list of different animal species in the movie. All famous and memorable characters were listed.

Now, let me present to you: the famous and real cast of The Lion King!

Almost all animal species are there in the movie, and most of them were shown for only a few seconds. 

Before we proceed to the main characters, let me first show you this best clip from the Lion King. 


Lion – Mufasa, Simba, Scar

Mufasa and Simba from The Lion King is a lion

There are three male lions in the Lion King. First is Mufasa, the father of Simba. Simba the son of Mufasa, who will be the next king of their pride, and the third is Scar, the brother of Mufasa. Scar is greedy to be the king of their pride. Now let’s go to the lionesses in the movie. 

Lions live in Africa, and only an inadequate population exists elsewhere. Lions are social animals that live together in pride. Male lions can grow up to ten feet in height and weigh up to 550 pounds, while female lions or lionesses can grow up to nine feet and weigh up to 400 pounds. 

Lions are adept hunters, and they are called the king and queen of the jungle. That is how it was portrayed in the movie. Mufasa and his other lionesses are the dominant animals in their place, and other animals respect them so much. 

A group or a pride of lions can be up to 30 lions, depending on how much food and water is available. Lions are territorial animals, and they mark their territory using their pee or rubbing their muzzle on tufts of grass or shrubs. 

Lioness – Sarabi, Sarafina, Nala

Nala and Sarafina from Lion King are a Lioness

There are many female lions in the movie. But the famous and memorable lionesses are Sarafina, Nala, and Sarabi. 

Sarabi is the mother of Simba and Sarafina is the mother of Nala. These three famous lionesses are from the pride of Mufasa. 

Lionesses are the ones who do most of the hunting. Lions are the protectors of their pride. Lions hunt too, but not as often as the lionesses. In simple words, lionesses provide food for the pride, while lions are the ones who protect the pride from threats.

Related Article: If you raise a lion from birth will it attack you? 

Hyena – Shenzi, Banzai, Ed

Shenzi, Banzai & Ed from the Lion King are hyenas

The second famous animal in the movie is the hyena. There are three hyenas in the film. They are Shenzi, Banzai and Ed. 

There are three species of hyenas. The three species are spotted hyenas, brown hyenas, and striped hyenas. 

Spotted hyenas are the largest species among them, while Brown hyenas rank second when it comes to size. 

When you notice in the Lion King movie, Shenzi, who is a female hyena is the leader, and she dominates Banzai and Ed. This is true in real life. 

Hyena groups are led by female hyenas. Female hyenas are smarter, stronger, and larger compared to male hyenas. 

Hyenas are known for being scavengers. They steal the prey of other predators. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, hyenas are adept hunters too. Also, lions steal more kills from hyenas rather than the other way around. 

Hyenas can take down wildebeest, porcupines, and hippos! They are on the list of adept hunters because of their ability to hunt and kill animals that are very difficult to kill. Aside from being good hunters, hyenas are also intelligent animals. Hyenas have primate-like cognitive skills, which makes them smarter than lions and other carnivores. Also, cheetahs are scared of hyenas.

Related Article: Can Hyenas Be Pets? 

Baboon – Rafiki

Rafiki from The Lion King is a baboon

There is only one baboon in the Lion King movie, and that is Rafiki. Rafiki is the one who baptized Simba and showed Simba in front of all animals. 

Baboons are the world’s largest monkeys. They grow up to 20 to 34 inches, and their tail has a length of 16 to 23 inches. Baboons weigh 33 to 82 lbs. 

Baboons are noisy and social animals. They have some behavior that is considered human-like. Baboons live in a group consisting of 50 individuals, and they love to socialize with other baboons. They live in a variety of habitats all over Central Africa. 

Baboons have the same daily routine as humans. They wake up at seven in the morning and spend time first with their loved ones before going out to get food.

Baboons spend their whole day eating, playing with other baboons, and grooming themselves or their fellow baboons. After that, they will come back to their sleeping areas at night. 

Hornbill – Zazu


Zazu is the little bird in the Lion King movie. He is a hornbill, an African red-billed hornbill, to be exact. Zazu served as a royal advisor to the Pride Lands monarchy.

The red-billed hornbill lives in savanna, woodland, and thorn scrub in sub-Saharan Africa. They are omnivore birds that love to eat fruit, insects, and small animals. They were named hornbill because of the shape of their bill that reminds people of cattle horns. 

Red-billed hornbills are one of the smallest hornbills. They have white underbellies and heads, a long tail, and a long red bill. The bill of a female is shorter than males. They use their bills for digging.

Meerkat – Timon

Timon from The Lion King is a meerkat

Guess who is the meerkat in the Lion King movie? Yep! You are right! Timon, who is the funniest, little guy, and boss of Pumba, is the meerkat. 

Meerkat has a height of 30 cm (12 in.). They also love to live in groups. Meerkat lives in groups that have 20-50 family members. Their family groups are called gangs or mobs, and each gang is led by two alpha pairs.

The female meerkat is the most dominant in the group. Most of their group members are children or siblings of the alpha pair. 

Meerkats are members of the mongoose family with an appearance like a weasel. They are small mammals with grizzled and brown hair and have dark patches around their eyes like Siamese cats.

Their dark patches are protection from the sun. Meerkats are cute animals in real life, and it is cute and a great character in the movie too. 

Warthog – Pumba


Pumba is a warthog and he is the friend of Timon, a meerkat, whom we talked about before. 

Like in the movie, warthogs are not aggressive animals. But they are known to injure predators, like what they did to the hyenas in the fight scene. Warthogs can be dangerous if threatened. They can catch you effortlessly as they run 30 miles an hour. Warthogs use their sharp lower canine teeth as their weapons.  

Blue Wildebeest

“The Lion King” Animal Species In Real Life

The blue wildebeest in the Lion King movie is the animals that killed Mufasa. Mufasa was killed in the movie because of the stampede manipulated by the hyenas. After Mufasa saves Simba from the stampede, his brother Scar dropped him back to the stampede and trampled to death by the wildebeest. 

Blue Wildebeest got their name because of the color of their coat. A million blue wildebeest are living in the Serengeti alone! Blue Wildebeest are commonly found in many areas of Africa. They live in a group and this is their main defense mechanism. For them, it is the safer way to stay alive. 

Wildebeest migrate 1000 miles each year. It is very long! Their lives are at risk during their migration because they have to cross crocodile-infested rivers. Also, they have to face the lions and other carnivores along the road.



Where are the vultures in the movie? Here, let me tell you.

Vultures were shown in the Lion King movie. They are the ones that gather around Simba’s fainted body. The vultures start to eat Simba but Timon and Pumba come to the rescue. This is where Timon and Pumba first see Simba. 

There are a total of 23 species of vultures around the world. They are adaptable birds found in many kinds of habitats, including suburbs. 14 species of vultures are considered as endangered. 

Vultures are carnivorous birds that love to eat small animals, like lion cubs. They often eat carrion and it is their favorite food. They also love fresh meats but prefer to eat a dead, decaying flesh of an animal.

This is the reason why vultures are important in our ecosystem. They help prevent the spread of diseases from old rotting corpses. 

Other Animals Shown In The Lion King Movie

Below are the different animal species that appeared in the Lion King movie. 


Elephants in The Lion King Movie

The elephants in the The Lion King are mainly background animals that complete the African jungle mood. Do you know why elephants obey humans?


Giraffes in The Lion King Movie

Another background animal in The Lion King are the mighty giraffes. But can giraffes be domesticated?


Zebras in The Lion King Movie


Badgers in The Lion King Movie


Aardvarks The Lion King Movie


Aardwolfs The Lion King Movie


Shrews in The Lion King Movie


Waterbuck in The Lion King Movie


Lion King is a great animal movie, and I would like to tell you to try watching it if you haven’t watched it yet. You can learn many life lessons from this movie, and you will have little knowledge about other animal species.

Jake Willhoite
Jake runs AnimalDome.com and has had cats and dogs his entire life. As a kid his family adopted several dogs from the local shelter which set him down the path of animal rescue.
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