Caturday felids: lion snacks

In these videos only the glass prevented each of these infants from becoming an amuse-bouche.  In the first one, the baby may have been mistaken for a young zebra.


  1. chascpeterson
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    I can’t get the first one to play, but here’s another (w/ mane):

    ‘Environmental enrichment’ I believe is the jargon.

    • chascpeterson
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

      ah, thanks, now I can view the ‘zebra’ clip.

      These children seem completely unconcerned. Is it the glass?

      group selection?

  2. Roz
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    That baby doesn’t seem to have any fear! Very cute though

  3. Matthew Cobb
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t even see the first video, just a pale cream space…

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:59 am | Permalink

      I have embedded a YouTube version


  4. Achrachno
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I wonder about the zebra explanation of the activity in the 1st video.

    Has this zoo lion ever seen, let alone eaten, zebra — young or old? Small, wiggling, plump thing might be specific enough as an explanation. Video 2 illustrates that, no? No zebra resemblance there, not even to our eyes.

    Lions breed readily in captivity and I don’t believe they’re imported from the plains of Africa these days to stock zoo exhibits. So, lions experienced in zebra chasing are probably rare in captivity.

    • Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      agree! I would assume that the lioness looked through the glass and thought “food”. doubt they see things and say to themselves “hmmm, that’s a human baby, on the other side of this glass, and I’m usually supposed to eat zebra and gazelle and the like but this kinda looks like a zebra baby so maybe…” oh please! if it moves, chase it, eat it. it if doesn’t move, taste it then reject or eat it. after all, mountain lions didn’t evolve to eat mountain bikes, but they sure as hell take them down and the riders with them often enough.

      • Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        “Tasty morsel.”

        Driving through the lion enclosure at Longleat, we noticed that the lions were restive as it approached feeding time, when suddenly one lioness bounded after a squirrel, which fortunately made it up a tree ahead of her.

        I don’t think there are that many squirrels on the African veldt!


  5. MAUCH
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering if it is stressful on the lions or gives them active stimulation. Perhaps if we find that it is beneficial we could feed them Christians.

    • Achrachno
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      That’s been tried. Didn’t help.

      • gravelinspector
        Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

        I don’t recall any reports of people asking the lions. Can you cite me a source for that?

    • AndrewD
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Poor Lions!

      • Posted May 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Precisely what I was thinking. Couldn’t they throw her a baby or two? Just once in a while?

  6. Marella
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I note that the second baby is also wearing dramatic strips and since lions’ colour vision is, I assume, not good, I wonder if the second baby was also triggering some instinct to eat stripey things. Note to self, don’t wear stripes if going on safari in Africa.

    • Maverick
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      There are other videos where lions will do the same thing for babies without any stripes on them at all, so its not that they are mistaken for zebras.

      Although, I’m curious what the lioness would do if an actual zebra or other prey animal baby was on the other side of the glass. Or what would happen if there was an adult prey animal, as the lionesses don’t seem to try to eat human adults.

  7. SmoledMan
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Honestly I think it’s cruel to keep wild animals penned up in zoos like this. Surely with technology we can provide virtual exhibits and leave the animals to their natural habitats(assuming we don’t destroy those habitats). Man is an evil creature.

    • Achrachno
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      So get God to magic them out of there.

    • Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

      What is “cruel”?


    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 20, 2012 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      “Surely with technology we can provide virtual exhibits and…” then we won’t miss the real animals when they’re all extinct.

      Jerry frowns on verbal abuse directed at other commenters, so I’ll leave the obvious unsaid.

      • SmoledMan
        Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        I agree man is making these beautiful animals extinct. We need to crack down on poacher hard.

  8. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted May 19, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Gotta wonder what kind of parent stands by laughing while a lion repeatedly tries to bite their baby’s head off. I get that the babies are perfectly safe, but even so, an up-close-and-personal view of a predator’s gaping jaws is not an experience I would want to inflict on my kids.

    One day those kids are going to see these videos and wonder what the hell Mom & Dad were thinking.

    • BilBy
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I’m not a parent but I must admit that even knowing there is a, presumably, lion proof barrier there, my reaction was, blimey, grab that kid and get out of there! Quite a visceral reaction too.

    • Posted May 19, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Agreed 100% These videos (or rather the stupid laughter) made me want to punch somebody in the face!

    • Asura
      Posted May 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      Are you kidding? I would LOVE to have had that happen to me as a toddler. Granted, I’m still fascinated by animals and going for a Zoology degree, but any amount of gaping animal mouths only inches from me would have only helped to increase my fascination.

  9. Posted May 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    The Elmvale Zoo (near Barrie and north of Toronto), while small, is still one of my favourite zoos since it is intimate and you can interact with some of the animals (eg. hand-feed the giraffes).

    My last trip there was memorable as they had several young tigers that were stalking my young kids (age 3 & 5) – safely separated by a wire fence. In one case as one of them ran along the tiger enclosure, at least one tiger used some of the vegetation as cover, then bounded along after them. In another case, a large tiger followed my daughter as she walked back and forth along its cage, again making it quite clear that it would love to get hold of her.

    I assume part of their behaviour was boredom, rather than being underfed. It was both entertaining, and unsettling, but knowing my kids were perfectly safe at the time we all look back on the videos with amusement.

  10. Posted May 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to be a sourpuss, but I would be very careful about encouraging this behavior in my child. I seem to recall a teenager having his arm ripped off by a caged feline he was taunting at a zoo a few years ago. I think the animal was killed.

  11. Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The lion looked fairly young, it was probably still trying out its hunting instinct. I don’t think the zebra stripes have anything to do with it, a baby looks small, helpless and tasty to a young carnivore regardless of its colour. I did notice that it kept going for the babies head where it would probably attack in the wild.

    The older ones had probably learnt long ago the futility of trying to get through the glass.

    I think the parents are cruel to tease the animals with an unobtainable snack.

  12. Monika
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’d say, it’s small, it’s slow to move, it’s prey!!!!

    This means lions are natural atheists, they love to eat babies.

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