Florida prohibits the attempted domestication(1) of baby lions. For sale on the Internet, pet lions are nevertheless smuggled into the state. Is a pet lion really that risky to keep? The short answer is ‘yes.’ Read on for the somewhat longer ‘why.’
From Christian the Hugging Lion to Backyard Risks
Remember the touching YouTube video of Christian, the hugging lion? It was presented as the heartwarming reunion of a pet lion that was released into the wild with his human keepers. One of the baby lions for sale in 1969 London, Christian was kept by a couple of friends in a typical apartment situation.
When the pet lion – for sale as a small cub – grew and reached 185 pounds, the friends relocated the animal (with help) into the wild. Plenty of modern day baby lions for sale do not get quite that lucky. Frequently they are kept in unsanitary and unsafe conditions until animal control officials forcibly remove – and oftentimes destroy – the now unruly animals.
From Pet Lion to Expensive Liability
Tiger Haven(2) is a sanctuary for the big cats. It accepts unwanted baby lions, lions for sale by backyard breeders that never actually sold, grown pet lions that have become safety hazards and also the occasional lion that simply outgrew its at-home habitat. Even though the organization stops short of telling visitors to quit buying baby lions, it makes a compelling presentation that outlines three reasons not to buy these exotics as pets.
Unlike the chore of caring for a cat, caring for a lion is a fulltime job that must be learned. Make a mistake, and your pet could kill you, your child or anyone else it comes into contact with.It is not possible to keep a pet lion inside a home. In fact, a lion is not a house pet at all, but an exotic wild creature that has specific spatial requirements that a room, cage or even garage could never fulfill.
Getting rid of an unwanted pet lion is difficult, if not impossible (assuming you want to do it humanely).
This keeps the owners of pet lions on the hook and also frequently causes the animal to linger in subpar conditions for much of its shortened natural life.
Is Caring for Baby Lions Really That Hard?
Cubs are adorable, but before long they grow into adults that can weigh up to about 550 pounds. It is not unheard of for grown animals to devour 66 pounds of raw meat for one meal. This makes the animals extremely expensive to feed and maintain. Zoning restrictions may also make it virtually impossible to keep a lion in a residential area.
Thus, owners of pet lions soon find out that they must find an alternative solution – at owners’ expense. Zoos do not take in unwanted lions and the few sanctuaries are either filled up or require that is up to the pet owner to pay for the erection of a structure suitable to house the animal, for veterinary care by a specialist, and of course for daily feedings of adequate quantities of food.
The author wishes to thank fellow AC writer Tony Jingo for his suggestion of the topic.