Skip to main content

How to tell the lion cubs apart

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Editor

Have you noticed the shaved patches of fur on the lion cubs?

This cub has a distinct shaved patch on his hip. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

These patches help us tell the three brothers apart at a quick glance.

And now that the brothers have names—thanks to your votes and an assist from dad Xerxes—we want to give you the inside scoop on which cub is which!

You can see the right shoulder shaved mark on the cub on the far left, and the hip shaved mark on the cub on the far right. Photo by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.

You voted for Tandie (meaning “fire”) as your favorite name for the cubs, and keepers decided to give it to the cub whose right shoulder is shaved. This cub is the spitfire of the three, making him a perfect Tandie!

The name Gandia (meaning “clever”) was given to the cub who has shown the most independence and curiosity. He is easy to spot by the shaved mark on his hip.

Finally, the biggest cub was dubbed Mandla (meaning “power”), and can be spotted by his left shoulder shaved mark.

So, now that you have the cheat sheet, can you tell which cub is which in this photo?

Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

The cubs’ outdoor schedule remains intermittent. As warm, dry weather allows, the cubs will continue to make increased appearances outdoors as they choose. We expect to have a more regular schedule by late February/early March, which we'll be sure to share!