Christian, a 5-week-old male African lion, is being fostered at Dade City’s Wild Things until Dec. 21 and is available for encounters with zoo visitors, according to zoo officials.
The lion cub is being bottle fed and cared for by humans at the zoo in preparation to be moved later this month to another Florida animal facility, which wants to remain anonymous, said Randy Stearns, the zoo’s president.
The lion cub should grow to about 600 pounds as an adult, according to Kelsey Johnson, head trainer at Wild Things. Christian’s blue eyes will turn to hazel, his mane will begin growing when he is 2 years old and he will be mature after seven years.
Christian is teething now and as he matures his baby teeth will give way to permanent teeth, with his canines reaching a length of about 2 inches, Johnson said. He will also lose the spots on his coat as he matures. Lions do not purr, but learn to roar instead.