Lion prides with a rich, reliable food supply can afford to be territorial and advertise ownership by scent marking with urine, faeces and by roaring. Pride males tend to be the most vocal with females and young generally silent (Smuts 1982). To hear a lion roaring close by is truly an unforgettable experience – the sound emanates power. A lion looks somewhat comical when roaring as it appears as if it is in extremely difficult to get the sound out and when it does there is an air of relief.
Lions can be heard roaring at any time of the night but most often just before dawn. Lions can usually be found in close proximity to where they are heard roaring in the early morning. Lions do not generally roar when they are on the hunt as this will warn their prey of their whereabouts. On a wind still night lions can be heard roaring 7 to 8km away. Roars are not only used to proclaim territory but also to rally straying members of the pride. A rich resonant grunt is also used for communicating at closer range.