Its legs are short with very powerful muscles enabling it to sprint and bring down large prey. The ability to retract its claws helps in protecting them so they maintain their sharpness.
Male lions are 20 to 35% larger than the females and 50% heavier. The male's chief role is to protect the pride's territory and females from other males. Size is therefore an advantage though it increases the male's need for food. Only males grow a mane. It causes him to look bigger without increasing his weight or need for food. It also protects him from bites and scratches should he have to fight another male.
Each lion has, what are called, "whisker spots". The pattern formed by this top row of whiskers differs in every lion and remains the same throughout its lifetime. Field researchers often use this unique pattern to identify specific animals.