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Walk on the wild side: Lion on a leash among unusual pets taken out across Scotland

A lion on a leash caused some raised eyebrows in Edinburgh.
A lion on a leash caused some raised eyebrows in Edinburgh.

From a lion on a leash in Edinburgh to geese waddling through the streets of Portsmouth, animal lovers across the UK have made sure even the most peculiar of pets receive their daily exercise.

After speaking to Aberdeenshire mum Michelle Barclay-Dunbar about taking her pet piglets out and about in Oyne, we looked into other examples of unusual animals roaming the streets of the UK.

Jason the lion was mane attraction in Edinburgh pet shop

It was in 1975 that young male lion Jason took his place in the Tropical Fish Centre at Lochrin Place in the Tollcross area of Edinburgh.

Owners Meg and Richard Houston kept the big cat in a cage at the front of the shop.

At the time pet lions, tigers and cheetahs were said to be the “ultimate pets of choice” among the wealthy elite.

A lion looking more at home in Nambia. Picture from Shutterstock

But the shop owners said they decided to take in Jason to spare him from being kept in a back garden in London.

And swapping one capital for another, it seems like the creature soon felt at home in Edinburgh – with well-wishers flocking from across the region to see him.

Lion was walked ‘like a big dog’

Meg told the Scotsman how his walks soon caught the attention of the police, though.

She said: “One day, when Jason was around two or three months old, the police called and told my husband we could no longer walk him on the pavements.

“He was getting too big and it had to be on private ground only, so we’d exercise him in a friend’s garden instead.”

Neighbour May Moss told the newspaper: “They could walk this lion like a big dog down one end of Lochrin Place to the other, passing by Murchie’s creamery.

“Some people have even said they saw the lion being taken for a walk in Bruntsfield Links and the Meadows.”

Jason moved to Oxfordshire in 1976 after the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was passed.

Friendly sheep often mistaken for dog

Wilbur the sheep is often mistaken for a dog as he goes on his walks about Devon.

Owner Liberty May last year told the Metro that her woolly companion “enjoys strolls on a lead, playing fetch and begging for treats”.

Miss May said people are regularly left stunned when the pair are spotted out and about.

Oreo the lamb was looked after by Karen Joslin-Smith at her Elgin home in 2017

One Elgin grandmother took in a pet lamb named Oreo for a short spell in 2016.

Karen Joslin-Smith took in the adorable animal after he was rejected by his mother, thinking she would simply offer him a warm place to spend his final hours.

But little Oreo defied expectations by surviving the night – and spent a few happy weeks at the home before sadly dying.

Karen took care of the cuddly creature like a pet and he was a hit with her young grandchildren.

Giant pig made himself at home

No matter how much the Oyne oinkers scoff, they are unlikely to ever reach a size which could cause problems for their owner.

Pigs on parade! Adorable pets brighten up village on their daily trots

The same could not be said for Francisco, a creature who was bought under the mistaken impression he was a micro pig.

The Daily Record reported that the giant hog was handed to an animal sanctuary when he began to grow too large for the Glasgow family who bought him.

He now weighs 20 stone, twice the weight of a healthy adult, and is 1.2m long.

Goose enjoys strolling around park

The Portsmouth News last summer told how a local man sparked something of a stir when he began walking his pet goose around a park in the English city.

Karl Martin bought the Embden goose on the second week of lockdown and it became a local star while being taken out on walks on his leash.

Karl, a 31-year-old retail worker said: ‘I wanted a goose because I’ve always liked them.

“I like how they look, act and the noise they make. Geese are intelligent birds and recognise people’s faces and some commands but they’re not as noisy as parrots.”

Snake enjoys breath of fresh air in Burghead

Moray man Dave Ruchat has been taking his pet python out in Burghead during lockdown.

The 9ft serpent, named Apollo, gets “weird looks” but Dave says he treats him like any other pet.

He told The Sun: “We go out for about 20 minutes or so at a time. It’s just so they can get a bit of a stretch and exercise after being in their tanks for so long.

“I don’t let them go too far as I know what people are like, and I try to go places where no one else is about. It’s nice to let them get in the grass for a slither.”

Meanwhile, recently published figures from have revealed that Aberdeen is home to more than 100 dangerous and exotic animals, which is largely due to one collection of 100 Buthidae scorpions.

 Read more about Oreo the lamb below – 

Oreo the lamb becomes part of Elgin family after miracle recovery