Lion cubs must be bottle fed in order for them to get the necessary nutrition. Similar to human babies, cubs need lots of attention, love and care. Feeding occurs throughout the day, and it's also important to physically stimulate the cub. Read on to learn about how to take care of lion's cubs.
Bottle-feed the lion cubs with a zoologic formula. Heat formula to room temperature and feed the bottle to the cub when it is lying on its stomach. Do not feed the cub while on its back, because the formula can get into its lungs and cause an infection. During the first three feedings, the formula should be 10 per cent dextrose. After that you can switch to a milk formula; some common brands are Zoologic's Milk Matrix, Borden's KMR and Esbilac. The cub should consume 5 per cent of its body weight (in grams) of formula per feeding. For example, a 200 gram cub would get 10ml of formula. About 8 to 6 feedings should occur per day.
Stimulate the ano-genital area of the cub with a wet cloth after each feeding. If the cub has diarrhoea, decrease the amount of milk until its stool is firm or regular.
Introduce solid food when the cub is 4 weeks old. Ground up chicken, turkey or beef can be used, or you can start the cub on commercial diets like Mazuri Feline Diet, Nebraska and ZuPreem. If using meat, start with small chunks and then work up to larger ones. Also begin weaning the cub from milk at about 10 to 11 weeks old. A vitamin or calcium supplement can be given to the cub during this time.
Provide an outdoor living space for the cubs where they can run, play, sleep and eat. An area with a lot of trees, grass and dirt is perfect. Just like a human baby, they will need to get used to their bodies and surroundings as well as know how to interact with other lion cubs. If they are six weeks or younger, it's best to keep them in a smaller outdoor space until they get a little older.
Play and interact with the lion cubs. Purchase thick, plastic balls that they can swat. Cuddle them and rub their stomachs. Pretend like you are the mother lion and use your hand like a paw to playfully push them down.
Clean up after the lion cub. Keep their environment sanitary so they don't develop an illness. Use a warm, wet wash cloth and stroke their fur and face just like their mother would.
Monitor the lion cub regularly. Provide water for them and make sure they are drinking it. Look after them so they don't hurt themselves or eat something they shouldn't. Keep all litter out of their living space.
When they get older, an animal sanctuary might be better equipped to care for the animal and provide it companionship with another lion. Watch how mother lions care for their young and mimic this behaviour. Schedule regular veterinarian visits to ensure that the cub does not have any illnesses and that it has gained enough weight.
It might not be wise to play with them when they get older, because they can unintentionally injure you.
Tips and warnings
- When they get older, an animal sanctuary might be better equipped to care for the animal and provide it companionship with another lion.
- Watch how mother lions care for their young and mimic this behaviour.
- Schedule regular veterinarian visits to ensure that the cub does not have any illnesses and that it has gained enough weight.
- It might not be wise to play with them when they get older, because they can unintentionally injure you.