I assume that lions don't have a concept of incest and they will just mate with any adult lioness in heat, daughter or not.

If so, is incest inevitable as the female cubs will grow up and remain in the pride? Their brothers will be kicked out as they reach mating age. But the females stay, so what is the mechanism that will prevent their fathers from mating with them?

I suppose that their fathers will be driven out of the pride by incoming males sooner or later. But if it doesn't happen soon enough, then what prevents them from mating with their daughters?


1 Answer 1


It is true that African lions have recently become more prone to inbreeding, largely due to human actions (reasons include limited dispersal and at least temporarily reduced pride sizes). see here

Generally though, lions likely avoid mating with close relatives innately as most animal species do. see e.g. here

A few things about the social structures of lions (ref.):

  • First, many prides are not controlled by a single male. Although the males might often be related to one another.

  • A single male might often not be in control for long enough to mate with his grown daughters.

  • Females do not only mate with the leader of their pride, but mate sometimes with males from outside of the pride.


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