Photography: Lions

If you ever visit Johannesburg, South Africa, you should make a point of visiting the Lion Park. It’s near Lanseria Airport, to the west of the city. Children are especially fond of the place because they can go into the cage with the baby lions, pat them and play with them – it’s a great adventure for little ones. The baby lions don’t seem to mind too much either.

When you’re done playing with baby lions and feeding the baby giraffes, get into your car and drive over to the four lion enclosures. A word of caution – DO NOT get out of your car, or open the windows – the adult lions are NOT friendly! They are extremely dangerous, and more than one tourist has snapped his last shot, leaning out of the car window or getting out of the car. I’m not kidding.

The dirt road leads through all four enclosures in turn. We came across this group first. As you can see, they’re all fairly alert – it was nearly feeding time:

FinePix S9500, f/4.9, 1/210 second, ISO 200

Two of the lionesses got up to investigate our car. It’s pretty scary coming face-to-face with these big cats!

FinePix S9500, f/4.1, 1/400 second, ISO 200

If you have any doubts as to how big a full-grown lioness is…..

FinePix S9500, f/4, 1/320 second, ISO 200

The males tend to lie around under the trees, and let the females do all the hunting.

Canon 400D, f/5.6, 1/1600 second, ISO 400

Occasionally, the male will get up and go sharpen his claws on a tree – just in case he has to do any work later!

FinePix S9500, F/4.9, 1/80 second, ISO 400

We saw a rare white lion in one of the enclosures. He looked like a big, white, fluffy toy….

FinePix S9500, f/3.7, 1/280 second, ISO 200

until he opened his mouth!

FinePix S9500, f/3.8, 1/300 second, ISO 200

We also managed to snap a few close-up portraits. This little cub was quite happy to have his photo taken.

Canon 400D, f/5.6, 1/1600 second, ISO 400

So, if you want to see Big Cats – REALLY big cats – come visit us here in South Africa!

 

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Photography: (Lion)sex in the city(Zoo)

blogger once told me that if I wanted more hits on my blog, I should write about sex!

Does writing about a couple of lions having sex count? If I include pictures?

We have a lovely Zoo here in Johannesburg; Sunday was warm and sunny, so we took the kid, the camera and a couple of sandwiches and had a pleasant day wandering around, looking at animals and of course taking photos.

I hope you will like these. Yes, there are some (tasteful)photos of lions having sex 🙂

Not this one – this is an alert suricate (or meerkat),  guarding his burrow. These are sociable little mammals found only in southern Africa. The name “meerkat” is Dutch for “lake cat” – strange, because they don’t live near lakes, and they are not cats!

Canon 60D, 70-300mm @ 225mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec, ISO 160

Meerkats are quite comical – their expressions can be quite human… I wonder what those two on the right are thinking?

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 300mm, F/6.3, 1/800 sec. ISO 500

A pair of ducks:

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 275mm, f/6.3, 1/800 sec, ISO 320 

What can you say about a couple of ducks….? Not much really…. I liked the symmetry of the photo, that’s why it’s here 🙂

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 300mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 5000

Nile Crocodiles. Very common, very dangerous. It is NOT a good idea to take a dip in a river in many parts of Africa – these 5 to 6 metre long reptiles are infamous for leaping out at the water’s edge, grabbing an unsuspecting animal (or human) and dragging it down into the depths, never to be seen again. They wedge the dead carcass under a log or stone, wait for it to rot, and then tear it to pieces…..They have very strong jaws, but they can only bite, not chew….

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 225mm, f/10, 1/800 sec, ISO 6400

A much happier picture! This old female African Elephant has been at the Jo’burg zoo for many, many years. She is one of the main attractions.

And now, as promised, the sexy lions!

These two were “playing” under a bush…

Canon 60D 75-300mm @ 200mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 3200

When they walked out into the open, the male was nuzzling the female’s hind quarters, and then he took her tail in his mouth. I had never seen or heard of this behaviour before…. but it could obviously only mean one thing…

Canon 60D 75-200mm @ 220mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 1000

Note the huge scratches on his nose! The lady must have put up a good fight at some stage….

I believe lions mate up to 40 times a day for the four days the female is on heat, so it’s probably just as well each  mating lasts only about half a minute.

Canon 60D 75-300 mm @ 165 mm, f/11, 1/1250 sec, ISO 1000

Magnificent beasts!