RAIN DOESN'T STOP PLAY FOR LONGLEAT LION CUBS near FROME

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By Fromereporter | Friday, December 28, 2012, 12:28

A spot of rain did nothing to dampen the spirits of eight lion cubs at

Longleat Safari & Adventure Park as they ventured outside for the

very first time this week.

The eight cubs, four males and four females, were born back in August

however they hadn't been allowed to join the rest of the pride until

now.

They certainly made up for lost time though and even the pouring rain

didn't seem to be a problem for the youngsters who played and explored

their new surroundings under the watchful gaze of mums Nikata and

Louisa.

Both the first-time mums have impressed keepers with their attentive

behaviour, although they are less patient when it comes to humans.

"Nikata and Louisa don't seem to have any problem joining in the rough

and tumble games with their cubs," said keeper Bob Trollope.

"However they are extremely protective and are nowhere near as accommodating with us!" he added.

Within minutes of being released the cubs were covered in mud and leaves

and were taking it in turns to try and balance their way along a

slippery fallen tree trunk.

Several of the braver individuals even began perfecting their ambush

skills on mum, although they were rather more cautious when dad Hugo

came over to say hello.

"Both mums have four cubs with two of each sex and Hugo is also a first

time father, however he is considerably less interested in the

youngsters and soon went back to what male lions do best – sleeping!"

said Bob.

Longleat is famed for its lions, which are kept in two separate prides.

However this is the first time the 'woodland' pride has had cubs.

At birth the cubs were just a kilogramme in weight, but they now tip the scales at eight kgs.

Male lions usually reach their full size by the age of two, while

females will be about three years old before they're fully grown. Adult

lions can weigh up to 200 kgs and grow to lengths in excess of three

metres.

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