What This Lion Does with A Toy Baffles Zookeepers


Adult male lions are formidable big cats with strong builds and proud manes. The wild, noble atmosphere about them and their very existence commanding respect has fascinated people for centuries. You frequently think of them prowling about, fighting for dominance, hunting, not to mention sleeping away and relaxing with other lions in the pride when you consider the big carnivores.

One thing you don’t picture is seeing one playing with a soccer ball. Nevertheless, there’s a lovely adult male lion who adores doing just that! Triton is an eleven year old white lion who comes to life when his way is thrown. He sees his caretaker about to throw him the ball he lets out an excited roar instantly jumps up, and runs over to check it out. That’s when the playtime enjoyment starts. He likes to swipe the ball with his enormous paws while chasing it around the enclosure, and pass it near himself. He keeps following the soccer ball when it rolls into the water, not pausing for a second to get soaked and to jump into the pond. It appears nothing can stop him or get in the way during his soccer training. He and the female lionesses won’t get any attention or play when his soccer ball is around!

Triton’s caretakers are constantly giving him new balls because he wears them out fast with all the chewing and clawing. He resides at the Johannesburg Zoo in South Africa where he is looked after by caretaker Agnes Maluleke and all the other big carnivores. Of the ten lions at the zoo in her care, she says he is the only one who takes an interest in the ball. She says that the professionals could learn a thing or two from him and Triton is the greatest soccer player. I tend to agree with her, after seeing his abilities in play. It appears he is the the only football playing lion on earth as well as a natural in the sport!

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