While the primary native ranges for lions in both Africa and India often reach higher temperatures, lions can also adapt to much cooler weather. At the Zoo, we give them heated areas to spend time in when they want to warm up, and we allow them to choose outdoor activities as they will.
Like so many youngsters, the lion cubs are quick to notice new things—and snow was something new! Snow makes even the light change. When given access to the yard on the first snow day, the cubs stopped in the doorway just to look. Everyone squeezed behind mom (who has experience with snow both here in Philadelphia and in Wisconsin, where she was born) to squint out at the deep white fluff. Kataba stepped out first. Sinking into those few inches, the others followed, starting a game of chase.
Everything about the yard seemed new. The cubs slid down the hill, sometimes holding onto mom’s back. They climbed rocks and pushed each other off. They even tried licking the branches and tree trunks and painting the exhibit glass with the wet stuff.
When they wanted to take a nap, they slipped inside with dad to curl up in a pile of four. This winter, the cubs will continue to be able to choose when they would like to play outside, while taking brief naps indoors. Look for them playing in the snow or peeking out from the window in the back of their yard.
We think of lions as warm weather animals, but the cubs will show you that they can also enjoy a snow day!
By Kay Buffamonte, KeyBank Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper