Tuesday 8 June 2010

The lion massager: British trainer who plays 'This Little Piggy' with the big cats

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:15 AM on 8th June 2010

It's one thing giving tiddles the cat a tickle on his paws, but this wildlife expert likes to think big when he hands out foot rubs.

British trainer Alex Larenty is pictured here giving Jamu the lion a paw massage at a game reserve in South Africa.

The nine-year-old big cat likes nothing better than his favourite game of 'This Little Piggy' at The Lion Park near Johannesburg with Alex, 50, from Chipping Norton.

The 40-stone lion casually lies back and lets his keeper massage his gigantic paw. Alex, who emigrated to South Africa, 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.

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.

'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.'

See photos at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1284884/The-lion-massager-British-trainer-plays-This-Little-Piggy-big-cats.html#ixzz0qGGQh0ft

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