Unveiling the Lion Masseuse’s Secret: The Joyful and Calming Effect of Playing ‘This Little Piggy’ with Majestic Big Cats

If anyone else tried to play This Little Piggy with a fullygrown lion, they’d be in danger of going wee wee wee all the way to casualty.

But Alex Larenty, 40, from Chipping Norton, is a fearless and highly skilled animal handler at The Lion Park near Johannesburg and is in complete control of this situation.

The beast having its paw tickled is nine-year-old Jamu (weight 550lb). ‘He loves it – it’s his favourite game,’ said Mr Larenty, a 50-year-old Briton who moved to Africa from Oxfordshire.

Unwind and Play: Lion Massager Uses 'This Little Piggy' Game to Help Big Cats Relax..D - LifeAnimal

The 40-stone lion casually lies back and lets his keeper massage his gigantic paw. Alex says he is able to get incredibly close to the big cats he works through complete mutual trust.

Having reared many from birth, he is able safely to walk into the middle of colossal Jamu’s pride and play games while surrounded by huge numbers of the massive predators.

Unwind and Play: Lion Massager Uses 'This Little Piggy' Game to Help Big Cats Relax..D - LifeAnimal

Unwind and Play: Lion Massager Uses 'This Little Piggy' Game to Help Big Cats Relax..D - LifeAnimal

While a stranger trying the same thing would end up as lunch for the animals, Alex uses his unique relationship to get close to the big cats he loves.

He said: ‘I built up a relationship with Jamu through putting insect repellent onto him, which is necessary here to keep our animals protected from things like parasites.

Unwind and Play: Lion Massager Uses 'This Little Piggy' Game to Help Big Cats Relax..D - LifeAnimal

‘He eventually realised he liked being scratched and tickled and now his favourite game is “This Little Piggy”. He loves it.’

Alex is even offering his massage services to England’s footballing lions.

He said: ‘My massages keep Jamu fit and happy so maybe it would work for our boys.’

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