OKLAHOMA CITY — Vets at the Oklahoma zoo were downright baffled after one of their female charges began to grow a very distinctly male feature.
A blog post from the Oklahoma Zoo reports that after spending 18 normal years as a fierce female, Bridget the African lioness suddenly began sprouting a manly mane, that by November had already resembled Santa's beard.
Curiously, the luscious locks didn't seem to be contagious, and hadn't come with any behavioral changes.
Maned lionesses aren't unheard of, but usually the extra testosterone feeding the mane of glory also gives them increased aggression and male mating behaviors. In one case, a lioness named Emma's full mane growth was attributed to testosterone-producing ovaries, which when taken out caused the mane to disappear.
Bridget's zoo has taken a blood sample to figure out if it's a testosterone issue. Though it's also possible she has a benign tumor on the adrenal or pituitary gland.
In any case, her handlers aren't too worried, since the extra hair doesn't seem to be affecting their big girl's health.