Monday, November 8, 2010

Lioness has a head for heights as had a catnap amongst the treetops

This is one cat up a tree that the fire brigade might think twice about rescuing.

Sweet Pea, a lioness at Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire, has taken a shining to shinning up trees and taking an afternoon nap there.

The sleepy feline has made a habit of clambering up the sweet chestnut tree in her enclosure and hiding amongst its foliage.

But it is not all bad news for birds who nest in the trees.

Instead of clambering up the branches to prey on feathery food, Sweet Pea is more interested in catching 40 winks instead of a snack.

The four-year-old clearly has a head for heights - she can swiftly climb the 30ft in just a matter of seconds before settling down for a cheeky snooze.

So far Sweet Pea has managed to find her way back down again by herself, but staff at Longleat are - understandably - nervously monitoring the situation in case she ever needs assistance.

Ian Turner, Longleat's deputy head keeper, said Sweet Pea's siesta habit is unusual as lions normally scale trees because they want to keep their food away from rivals.

'She has only just started climbing up the tree but it is already very much her favourite thing,' he said.

'In the wild lions are known to climb trees when they want to feast on a piece of meat that they don't want another lion getting hold of.

'She must have fabulous views over the parkland although I have to admit I won't be joining her for a look.

'It is good to see such natural behaviour but we're just hoping that she doesn't get stuck up there.'

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