Free Range Free Chat

Free Range Free Chat is all animals all the time and a free chat thread, because animals are news, pets and non-pets, even those pesky mammals we call human. During Women’s History Month, we present a few in the Female Animal Kingdom who run the show, giving examples from which we humans can learn…..

African Elephants

Leadership is not always about aggression. African elephants live long lives, and matriarchs survive across many generations. This gives them more experience to draw on, which may influence their ability to lead their herd to sources of food.

In the dry, thorny forests of Madagascar, Verreaux’s sifaka lemurs leap between trees with gravity-defying ease. For these primates, there’s no question which sex is dominant. 

Ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) female carrying two babies. Anjaha Community Conservation Site, near Ambalavao, Madagasca
Bring it, Baby 😉

“Females beat up the males,” says anthropologist Rebecca Lewis of the University of Texas at Austin. To avoid smacks to the face and bites, males call out submissively when females approach — a chattering chi chi chi chi, which is “the equivalent of bowing down,” says Lewis. At trees laden with edible fruit, it’s ladies first: If a male climbs up, the feasting female may aggressively lunge or glare, and he’ll often retreat to the ground.

Female Hyenas
Female Hyenas
Baby Hyenas

Elsewhere on the African savannah, female spotted hyenas dominate clans. They are physically larger than males and in command during conflicts with predators or other clans. “It’s the adult females who are on the front lines in battles,


Orcas, also known as killer whales, live in matrilines that are led by the oldest female. These matrilines are close family units. An orcas offspring will stay with their mother all their life even when they have their own offspring. All the female orcas in their pod will protect each other’s young ones

The Matrilineal Orcas

Orca communities especially follow these grandmothers (or great-grandmothers) during hard times, like when salmon prey are scarce, according to a 2015 study in Current Biology. With the most accumulated wisdom about local resources and dangers, female elders lead group movement and food pursuits.

Female Bonobos

Two of the closest animal relatives to humans are the chimps and bonobos. Not only do these two primates contrast in appearance, but also in leadership styles. Males lead the chimps while the bonobos are female-led. 

Bonobos in natural habitat on Green natural background. The Bonobo ( Pan paniscus), called the pygmy chimpanzee. Democratic Republic of Congo. Africa

The bonobos are led by females who keep the peace between the male and female bonobos. These females usually team up together when they have to confront a male bonobo

There’s something amiss with The Lion King — aside from talking, singing animals. Disney’s smash hit of stage and screen tells the tale of young male lion Simba’s rise to power. But, in the real circle of life, lionesses lead. 

Female Lions

Related females band together for life, as the primary hunters and warriors. Transient males join to mate but contribute little else to a pride’s success.

Female vs. Male

Source: Discover and and New Scientist and the BBC