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The Morning Brew: The unlikely development at the OKC Zoo

A lion at the zoo has grown a mane

Bridget, an African lion at the Oklahoma City Zoo has sprouted something odd in her old age usually reserved for the males of her species -- a mane. 

OKC Zoo 

It's not unheard of. A lioness in South Africa also grew a mane. As for what caused Bridget to sprout one? It's a mystery. From the zoo's blog: 

Veterinary staff and caretakers developed behavioral training methods that would allow them to safely draw blood from Bridget's tail without the need for anesthesia. They successfully obtained a blood sample last week and are currently awaiting results. Aside from a natural genetic component, another potential condition causing the mane growth could be a benign tumor located on her adrenal or pituitary gland as these regulate hormones like testosterone.

Male lions grow their manes as testosterone levels peak. 

In males, manes develop at about one-year-old and are a product of increased production of the hormone testosterone. The OKC Zoo’s male lion, Hubert, 6, has a robust, dark mane while Tia, Bridget’s 18-year-old sister, remains mane-less. Bridget’s mane growth occurred between March and November 2017.

More here.


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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›