Many women have a fuzzy “femmestache,” but even the hairiest of them have nothing as magnificent as the rare maned lionesses. We usually think of flowing, golden manes as a male attribute, but sex and gender are not always so neatly divided in the animal kingdom. These unusual queens are found primarily in the Okavango region of Botswana, where safaris encounter them fairly regularly. Some believe the maned lionesses’ unusual attributes are advantageous to their family group, causing wandering male lions and hungry hyenas to stay away.
This photograph is from the Discovery Blog’s article “Rare Maned Lionesses are Nature’s Bearded Ladies.” Read their interesting article for more insight into this hairy phenomenon!