New toy is creating 'leaping lions' at Oregon Zoo - KPTV - FOX 12

New toy is creating 'leaping lions' at Oregon Zoo

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Keepers at the Oregon Zoo have turned rolls of butcher paper into a toy that helps lions exercise and keep their instincts sharp. (Oregon Zoo) Keepers at the Oregon Zoo have turned rolls of butcher paper into a toy that helps lions exercise and keep their instincts sharp. (Oregon Zoo)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A new toy is bringing out a side of the lions at the Oregon Zoo that visitors don't usually get to see.

Called the “Leaping Lion Toy,” it literally has the lions leaping in the air.

Keepers at the Oregon Zoo explained it is important that the six lions have ways to get exercise and have ways to use their predatory instincts.

The staff created the toy, which is simply a giant rope made of butcher paper, to have something similar to the dangling toys cat owners would get at a pet store, just significantly bigger.

According to zoo staff, once the lions are able to rip a piece of the toy off, they'll shred it up.

Keepers said this is also a way to encourage the big cats to use their natural hunting behaviors, noting that the lions are, ”really inquisitive” and that the animals have, “instincts to pounce."

"In the wild lions use their powerful back legs to leap onto their prey at the last minute and take them down," lead keeper Beth Smith explained.

Keepers say since most of the animals lions hunt are faster than them, they have to rely on those strong back legs to ambush their prey.

The keepers said also hid food on rocks and sprayed scents of other animals to leave what they call "game trails."

The zoo staff said these are all ways to mix up the lions’ routines and keep them interested in their surroundings.

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