Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SCARED OF A LION?: Woman keeps an adult LION as a pet in her house (PICTURES)


Close bond: Timba, who is a year and six months old, can often be found playing with Annel Snyman in the garden and helping himself to food in her kitchen


Animal lover Annel Snyman and her pet cat Timba exemplify the incredible bond that can grow between man and beast.

But Timba is no ordinary house cat. He's a hulking house lion that can polish of 9lbs of raw meat a day and could bite off her head any time he liked.


But Timba is really a big softie, and loves nothing more than to cuddle up to Annel on the sofa of their home in the Waterburg region of South Africa.

Timba, who is one year and six months old, also enjoys going for walks with Annel's six-year-old dog, Diesel and 'helping out' with everyday chores around the house. Continue

And as these remarkable pictures show, Annel has now formed an incredible bond with the 120kg lion, after adopting him as a cub in March last year.

The 31-year-old, who lives in the Waterberg region of South Africa, just outside Bela-Bela, said she loved her unconventional pet. 


She said: 'Family and friends have all had to adjust to the occasional tackle by a large cat while visiting.
Best fiends: As these remarkable pictures show, Annel has now formed an incredible bond with the 120kg lion, after adopting him as a cub in March last year
Best fiends: As these remarkable pictures show, Annel has now formed an incredible bond with the 120kg lion, after adopting him as a cub in March last year

Lion love: The 31-year-old, who lives in the Waterberg region of South Africa, just outside Bela-Bela, said she loved her unconventional pet
Lion love: The 31-year-old, who lives in the Waterberg region of South Africa, just outside Bela-Bela, said she loved her unconventional pet

'They've also gotten used to having him investigating their coffee or any other sweet items they happen to have.

'He has a fantastic appetite and eats lots of meat - around 4kg every day.'

As a cub Timba could often be found snoozing in Annel's bed but having outgrown the bedroom the friendly feline still trys to cuddle up with Annel on the sofa.

She said: 'Relationships used to be a challenge as there was often some jealousy issues about who was going to snuggle up with who on the couch.
Couldn't let go: After hand rearing six Servals and a Cheetah cub, Annel decided that she could no longer raise the cats, form a bond with them and then let them go and thus decided to apply to start keeping predators on a permanent basis
Couldn't let go: Big softie Timba (pictured here as a cub) also enjoys going for walks with Annel's six-year-old dog, Diesel and 'helping out' with everyday chores around the house
Paw-some buddies: As a cub Timba could often be found snoozing in Annel's bed
Paw-some buddies: As a cub Timba could often be found snoozing in Annel's bed

Lion love: The 31-year-old, who lives in the Waterberg region of South Africa, just outside Bela-Bela, said she loved her unconventional pet
Lion love: The 31-year-old, who lives in the Waterberg region of South Africa, just outside Bela-Bela, said she loved her unconventional pet
Cat a sight of this: Unsurprisingly, she says the neighbours are still amazed by Timba and often slow down when driving past to catch a glimpse
Lion's lair: Annel's love for animals started six years ago when, with help from her mother and father, she opened a guest house - called Loebies Guestfarm - on the land where she lives
Lion's lair: Annel's love for animals started six years ago when, with help from her mother and father, she opened a guest house - called Loebies Guestfarm - on the land where she lives

Annel and Timba when he was just a cub
Annel and Timba
Playful: Timba has grown from a cub (left) to a huge lion (right), but he's still as playful as ever
'It normally ended up with me on one couch with Timba snuggled up on my lap and the other person on the other couch or outside looking rather concerned.

'This was something that Timba had mastered perfectly. He used to be fantastic at subtly shifting his way onto the couch between myself and whoever was sitting next to me.

'If only every father could have a lion to keep the boys away from their daughters.
'I'm in a relationship now though and thankfully Timba has totally accepted my partner as one of the family.

'The neighbours are still all amazed by him and I often see them driving past and slowing down to catch a glimpse.'
Cats and dogs: Timba has lots of friends on her animal-friendly ranch, but his best pal is Diesel the dog
Cats and dogs: Timba has lots of friends on her animal-friendly ranch, but his best pal is Diesel the dog

Meaty treat: Naturally, Timba developed a taste for raw meat from a very early age
Meaty treat: Naturally, Timba developed a taste for raw meat from a very early age

Annel's love for animals started six years ago when, with help from her mother and father, she opened a guest house - called Loebies Guestfarm - on the land where she lives.

In a bid to make the resort more appealing she decided to adopt various farm animals and this eventually turned into hand-rearing African cats and other wild animals after being approached by someone in the game industry in 2009.

Since then Annel has hand-reared dozens of animals including six Serval kittens, a cheetah cub, five lions, a white lion and a leopard.

Annel admits she spoilt the first lions she cared for even more than Timba and would regularly go swimming with them.

She said: 'Being the first lions reared on the farm, they ruled the house, the bed and the couches and would regularly join me for swims in the farm dam up until they were rather large.
Chewy: This picture was taken at a time when Timba could still fit inside Annel's kitchen
Chewy: This picture was taken at a time when Timba could still fit inside Annel's kitchen

Training: But Timba also likes nothing more than to relax with Annel - and can be very attentive
Training: But Timba also likes nothing more than to relax with Annel - and can be very attentive

'For me, working with these animals was therapy and unbeknown to me at the time, the start of a whole new passion and path that my life was soon to take.

'After all the necessary permit applications for the keeping and hand rearing of indigenous predators were approved by the Department of Nature Conservation, I got my first Serval kittens to raise.

'This was quite a challenge but the first wild animals I cared for were my children and my life.

'After hand rearing six Servals and a Cheetah cub, I decided that I could no longer raise the cats, form a bond with them and then let them go and thus decided to apply to start keeping predators on a permanent basis.

'That was the spark that ignited my passion and directed me towards the unimaginable path and life experiences that I have on a daily basis.

'While most people are amazed, this has become my life and part of who I am.
'There are times when it is difficult to do day-to-day things but I do manage to live a normal life - well normal for me anyway.'

What do you think about this strange and strong bond with a wild animal? Is it a cute and special thing to happen, or she is just waiting to be a cute and special meal? 

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