An entertaining episode of the Popular Science series Wild Lives tells the story of “Frasier the Sensuous Lion”, a remarkably virile rescued elderly Panthera Leo, who lived at the now-defunct Lion Country Safari in Orange County, California.
How a 19 year old lion fathered 35 cubs… in a year and a half. This is the wild story of a lion named Frasier—Frasier the Sensuous Lion—who became a science wonder the world over in 1972. After all, how many lions have movies and songs made about them because of never before seen animal behavior?
Frasier lived most of his life as a circus animal in Mexico. When the circus went broke in 1970, the toothless, droopy-tongued Frasier was 19 years old and “past his prime”. Arrangements were made to have Frasier euthanized, but he somehow wound up at Lion Country Safari instead and it was there that this toothless elderly lion sired 35 cubs with the park’s six lionesses. Frazier remained at Lion Country until his death in 1972.
…he became an icon because of displaying never before seen animal behavior. Going by the name of “Frasier the Sensuous Lion,” he fathered 35 cubs in a mere 18 months at the old age of 19.
Frasier’s story is remarkable in a couple of ways. First, lions don’t usually live that long. The typical lifespan of the species is between 10 and 14 years. Additionally, lions don’t usually mate that late in life. Yet, Frasier somehow still had it in him. He grew so popular that jazz great Sarah Vaughan recorded a song about him.
Popular Science also did a bit of math regarding lion progeny. As it turns out, one litter of cubs can create enough descendants to eat all of Los Angeles.
You probably don’t think about lion reproduction too much, do ya? Well, consider this. If one female lion in captivity has a litter of cubs, and they all survive and breed – for reference, zoo lions can start breeding before their third birthday – and then those offspring all survive and breed, and then the next generation the same, and so on, it’d take about 37 years until that one family tree of descendants, from that one lioness, needed to eat the entire population of Los Angeles every day.
submitted via Laughing Squid Tips