Meet the teen lion tamer who likes to tickle their feet

Updated: 

Meet the teen lion tamer who likes to tickle their feet

Some teens like watching TV and playing computer games, but 18-year-old Shandor Larenty prefers to spend his time giving enormous lions paw massages.

Shandor is a third-generation tamer and has been helping out at his British father's lion park in Johannesburg since he was a young child.

He claims to have a special bond with 250kg Zavu, who he plays with all the time.

According to the Mirror, he said: "Zavu is a special lion because he loves me and we are best friends.

"He loves to be cuddled and be centre of attention. One of his favourite things is a foot massage.

"I've grown up doing this. I love it. My friends think I'm a little bit crazy going in with a fully-grown lion."

Meet the teen lion tamer who likes to tickle their feet


Shandor's father Alex, 56, a wildlife expert, relocated to South Africa from Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, in 1999.

According to the Daily Mail, Shandor said: "My dad has always encouraged me to go into the wildlife field since I was a toddler.

"He is my mentor. Everything I've learnt about working with these animals has come from him."

Shandor said he is not frightened of lions, even though they "have a jaw pressure of one tonne per square inch. Those teeth are very long and could do a lot of damage".

He adds that the key is "to show you aren't scared".

Alex said: "I do fear for his safety sometimes but then that's why I'm there. You train these lions to do all sorts of things, but you can't train them not to eat you.

"He's still learning his trade, but for someone his age he is doing extremely well."

Related articles

Teen mauled while trying to kiss lion at zoo

Woman killed by lion while having sex in the African bush