Thursday, November 8, 2012

Love at First Sight!

Do you believe in “love and first sight”?  Can you think of two lions that fell “head over heal” in love with they first saw each other?

Oh, look at that, we're getting ahead of ourselves again…let’s start from the beginning, shall we?

We all know that lion manes are very important to the species survivability as previously discussed in our blog posting titled “Going Mane-less is Cool” (click HERE

But have you ever wondered what really catches the lioness’ eye when she spots a male lion from a distance?  A study by West (2005) hypothesized that manes may function in any of three ways:  as a shield against injury, as a signal of the males fighting ability, and as a sign of a male’s physiological status.

But we wondered, is there another sign, other than a full-long mane, that catches the female’s attention?  Could it be the color of the mane that draws females to eye?  As it turns out, Peyton West’s research in East Africa revealed that testosterone levels were found higher in males with darker manes, possibly signaling increased fighting ability.  Further, darker maned males tend to be better fed, suggesting a higher level of dominance or improved hunting skills.  Apparently, looks count a lot in the lion world!


So do the darker-colored maned lions know they are “hot stuff” to the female lions?  Again, according to the West 2005 study, loud speakers were set-up many yards away from small groups of male lions.  The sounds broadcasted to the males were that of a lioness in oestrus.  Even though the males’ mane length were not a significant factor, the males with the darker manes were more likely to race ahead of the others, as they searched for the female.

Interesting….so let's take a look at our lions, shall we?

Hello handsome Kahn!
Time to wake up!
As many of you know, we have 10 lions—5 females (Jynxie, Eve, Aurora, Layla, Sheila) and 5 males (Sabu, Jazz, Shazam, Aramis and Kahn).  Our “white boys,” Shazam and Jazz obviously do not have dark manes—which probably explains why Jynxie likes to antagonize them.  Sabu has no mane—and not mate.  That just leaves Aramis and Kahn with darker manes.  You may recall, Aramis came from Poetry, Texas, along with Aurora, Eve, and Layla, so he gets to enjoy the company of the ladies.

That just our special love story—Sheila and Kahn!

Kahn's Lady Love, Sheila!
Kahn and Sheila arrived at In-Sync Exotics in 2009.  Since their arrival were separated about four months apart, the lions were housed at the opposite ends of our sanctuary.  It was during this time the lions’ quarters, known as Surround Sound, was under construction.  The plan was to have Sheila and Kahn live right across from one another, in the hopes that someday they could be paired together.

Once Surround Sound was finished, we moved Kahn first, got him settled into his new home, nice and comfy, before moving Sheila.

As soon as we had the transport cage, containing our lady love, in front of her new home, she looked up and saw Kahn!  And Kahn saw Sheila! It was love at first sight for our girl!  We had no problem releasing Sheila into her new quarters as she immediately moved to a vantage point where she could watch Kahn's every move—and he reciprocated her interest!  It was obvious the two wanted to be close to each other.

Kahn and Sheila on a date!
Perhaps it was his mane "do" that
got our gal's heart beating faster?
Fast forward five months—once Sheila was spayed, we moved the pair to their new common area where they could touch noses while Sheila’s stitches healed.  For a month we allowed the pair to “date.” Once the dating stage was over, the pair got “married” to the delight of the staff and volunteers!  Now the two live happily ever after, spending lots of time together!

So, we pose this question to our readers—did Sheila fall for Kahn’s charms or did the color of his mane win her heart?  Don’t you just love a happy ending?

We hope you enjoyed today's blog posting! Be sure to check back tomorrow for more fun and informative information about our exotic cats and their friends of In-Sync Exotics! Don't forget to let us know your reaction to this posting by clicking on one of the reaction buttons below--and share this blog posting with others please ~ Thank you!




  1. Kahn is so protective of his sweet Sheila!