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If anyone has ever gotten the chance to touch a male lion, does his mane feel more or less just like human hair?

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    I'm sorry but this site is exlusively about the training of and care for domesticated animals that are considered pets. You could try at Biology.SE, but I'm honestly not sure it would be on topic there. Would you like me to migrate your question to Biology.SE?
    – Elmy
    Mar 19 at 5:42
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    @Elmy I see that there is a "big-cats" tag. So I thought this was the right place. Mar 19 at 6:36
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    Our help page states that the scope of this site is "an animal companion that is cared for in a domestic setting and not livestock, wildlife, and pests in and around your home." Big cats are certainly a grey area because technically they are wild animals but some people do keep them as "pets". That's why I didn't close the question as off-topic, but I'm still uncertain whether it fits here or not.
    – Elmy
    Mar 19 at 7:02
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    @ganidat Maybe some general cat information helps you out: usually uncastrated tomcats have scraggly and untidy hair, probably due to the male hormones. Cat skin in general produces much less skin oil than human skin, making it drier and less smooth. Add to that the fact that lions live in the wild and are exposed to the sun and a lot of dirt and dust. I think the mane of a lion would feel a little coarser than human hair, maybe comparable to other long animal hair like the mane of a goat or the coat of some long-haired dog breed or a sheep (but less oily).
    – Elmy
    Mar 19 at 7:14
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According to Jacob Markow, a supposed "zookeeper who specializes in the care of tigers and other big cats", and an "animal handler and trainer", who answered the Quora question: What does it feel like to touch a male lion?

The male's mane is, as you might expect, a bit tangled in general. These guys rarely get a spa day and thus their mane is not usually combed out. The mane and end of the tail is more hairlike than their coat is in texture and length. Both are generally rough and the end of the tail (in fact, the whole tail) is heavy and stiff.

Also, like Elmy pointed out,

Cat skin in general produces much less skin oil than human skin, making it drier and less smooth.

Another internet question, similar to this one and the Quora one linked earlier, a source from YahooAnswers! who "works at a zoo" says this:

The fur tends to be rather soft but every lion mane I have ever touched tends to be slightly coarse. It is still soft but it does have a thicker and rougher feel to it. There are some sections though that have that baby-fine really soft hair too, but the bulk is thicker.

From the question What does a lion's mane feel like? (link is now broken).

Lastly, Wikipedia states:

The presence, absence, color, and size of the mane are associated with genetic precondition, sexual maturity, climate, and testosterone production.

This again implies it can vary by climate and the actual lion.

Wikipedia also says this:

the rule of thumb is that a darker, fuller mane indicates a healthier animal. In Serengeti National Park, female lions favor males with dense, dark manes as mates.

So it may be possible that through natural selection, lions get thicker and darker manes because of this.

In conclusion, most of Lion's Manes will be:

  • tangled

  • rough

  • dry

  • coarse

  • thick


Disclaimer: I am not an expert on big cats and I am not a biologist or zoologist. My answer is based on other sources.

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