LOXAHATCHEE, FL (WFLX) - More than 900 wild animals call Lion Country Safari their home, and when you visit, you will be within feet of full grown lions, rhinos, monkeys and giraffes.
The fourteen lions of Lion Country Safari know Wildlife Lead Keeper Brian Dowling's voice and scent. They also enjoy his companionship. In fact, he raised two of the 14 by hand.
He says the lion pride runs a lot like a community. "They'll form little coalitions; they'll pair up with one another and pick on one another. They're always battling for their hierarchy," said Dowling.
Lion Country Safari has been around for nearly 40 years. "We truly are an unique experience. We live in an area where there is a lot of tourism, and the weather is pretty mild year round for us."
And when the storms roll in, "Instincts really take over, and, as the storm blows through, it blows right over them." Once the winds calm down, they're back on their feet grazing once again.
And you haven't experienced a traffic jam until you drive through the safari. Yes, rhinos and antelope have the right away. Thankfully, the animals are accustomed to sharing their ground with visitors. "It's actually called desensitization. These animals see that [cars] so often and so regularly, that it doesn't even phase them."
It's now lunch time, and the giraffes are ready for their carrots, sweet potatoes and crackers. Did you know their tongues are 14 inches long?!