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Mike Tyson pet tiger: Legend would love another exotic animal

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Fight legend "Iron" Mike Tyson, a former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world and one of the most popular athletes ever, would love to own another pet tiger.

Not long ago, the champ confessed he misses the tigers he owned when he was on top of the sports world.

He owned several big cats and seemingly enjoyed hanging out with his bengal kitties.

"You sleep with the tiger when it's a little baby tiger but then they grow... and the next thing you know they're 300, 400 pounds and they're still in the bed with you," stated the legendary fighter.

But pet tigers, like most exotic animals, are very expensive to care for and Tyson can no longer afford such a great financial burden.

According to BigCatRescue:

"One can expect to invest almost $22,000 their first year into owning a small to mid size wild cat and annual expenses will cost around $2,300."

"And if you want a true big cat, the set up cost is over $94,000 and the annual care is over $8,000 IF you have no emergencies and no one gets hurt and sues you for millions of dollars."

Actually, the annual costs listed above are lower than some other estimates.

"One day when I ever make any money... I'll have to have my own little private compound, where they're not around the kids because my wife wouldn't let that happen," added the fistic superstar.

Esteemed boxing photographer Chris Farina told Fightland he spent two days at Tyson's home after the latter was released from prison in 1995.

"Mike shows us around the house, and he eventually says, 'You wanna see the tigers?'"


He pulls the tiger out of the cage, and I’m moving back." "He starts walking with this tiger up the hill, and I’m shooting all these pictures. The tiger is dragging Mike.'

"He dosesn't’have the tiger, the tiger is dragging him."

As a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Mike was asked if he was ever hurt by one of his exotic animals.

"Not intentionally," Tyson replied.

"On one occasion I went 'give me a kiss' and she put her head in and 'boom.'"

"I had gold teeth back then and she knocked my teeth out because her head is like concrete."

Ouch Mike!

Aside from the high expense and an occasional headbutt, there's one more drawback, according to Mike, to owning one of these loveable and intelligent but potentially dangerous creatures.

"When they (tigers) fart, it smells like hell. You don't want that around the house."

The controversy rages on about the safety, or lack thereof, of owning pet tigers and other big cats. Some owners insist they are merely big, playful kitties. But regardless of the experiences of some, not all big cats are - or can become - domesticated.

According to The Humane Society, tigers, lions, and other big cats have skyrocketed in popularity in the exotic animal trading market. And as of 2013, there were an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 tigers in the United States yet fewer than 400 of them were in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Although Tyson misses his big cats, he admitted he believed they can pose a security risk.

Do you own an exotic animal, specifically a big cat? And would you advise Tyson to get another?

... Or are they better suited in the wild or in animal-friendly sanctuaries like Big Cat Rescue and Safari's Sanctuary?

Video: Living With Tigers: Family Shares Home With Pet Tigers

(This might be dangerous)



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