Samson is a male African Lion (Panthera leo) born in the summer of 2012 with Osteogenesis imperfecta, known as brittle bone disease. Osteogenesis imperfecta is a condition that causes the bones to be extremely fragile. This condition also affects humans, many who come to visit Samson at the Foundation. There is not a known cure for this condition; however, Samson made a miraculous turn around. The Foundation is the first facility to do any research with exotic big cats regarding this condition. All of the research we have and are acquiring will be shared with other facilities. We are very fortunate and thankful to our veterinarian along with the four other veterinarians who collaborated on this case. Samson is an inspiration to many children who have conditions of their own. Seeing that he is pain free and happy opens the door to understanding that no matter the condition or special need they too can live a happy and healthy life.
In appearance the lion is a powerfully built, muscular cat. The fur is short and generally uniform in color, ranging from gray to reddish brown. The exception is the lion’s underside which is often white, especially in females. The back of the ears and tip of the tail are dark brown or black.
The lion is unusual among the cat species in that it lives in organized social groups called prides. The pride can consist of as many as 30 lions, with the majority being females and their offspring, along with a small number of resident males. It is common for the females within the pride to be closely related. This family bonding is often extended through communal nursing and caring of the young within the pride.
In the wild, African lions live in the savannah, which is a large, open, grassy plain where they hunt zebra, antelope, wildebeest, and deer. Male lions defend the pride’s territory while females do most of the hunting. Lionesses hunt by ambush, with the majority of the hunting group chasing the prey toward individuals lying in wait. Those lying in wait are then able to give chase over short distances before leaping on the selected animal for the catch. Once the prey is taken, it is common for the males of the pride to eat first even though they may not take part in the hunting process.
African Lion Quick Facts:
|Body Length||Up to 11 ft|
|Body Height||4 ft|
|Body Weight||Females 350 lbs; Males 550 lbs|
|Gestation Period||105 – 115 days|
|Number of Offspring||2 – 3 cubs|
|Lifespan||In Wild 12 yrs; In Captivity up to 20 yrs|