Spend a sweet minute inside the Oregon Zoo‘s Predators of the Serengeti exhibit, where African lion Zawadi and the rest of the pride—mates Neka and Kya, and 9-year-old daughters Niara and Mashavu—can enjoy a good snuggle and roll in fresh bedding.
But this isn’t just any bedding; this is fresh hay from the rhino barn. And sometimes the keepers bring hay from the zoo’s mountain goat area. But why do those sources make the hay extra special? From the Oregon Zoo:
“Exploring new scents helps bring out some of the pride’s natural feline behaviors, keepers say.
“’They’re getting some intriguing smells to consider, and they seem to love it,’ said Kelly Gomez, who oversees the zoo’s Africa area… ‘Adding scent-rich items to their environment is one of the things we do to help keep them healthy and happy,’ Gomez said. ‘Throughout the zoo, we work to encourage the natural behaviors that make the different animals who they are — which in the lions’ case is some very big cats.’
Lions are mostly crepuscular—active during twilight, those barely lit morning and evening hours—so their days are more about conserving energy with sitting and sleeping—just like house cats.
Hunting, mostly carried out by the females of the pride, is done in the cool evening hours when antelopes, gazelle, zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, giraffes, and maybe even a rhino or a young elephant, can be caught for a meal.
Fun fact: Zawadi Mungu was named Oregon Zoo’s Father of the Year in 2014, not long after Neka gave birth to triplets Kamali, Zalika, and Angalia. From July 2022:
Enjoy these related Oregon Zoo and lion videos next:
• Cougar vs. a frozen salmon – Keeping big cats well-exercised
• Tiny Goat Visits! A porcupine, elephants, and Chupacabra
• Beavers Maple and Filbert build dams together
• The Lion and the Mouse (1976), an animation by Evelyn Lambart
• The Lion King’s animal costumes behind-the-scenes