Sunday, June 28, 2009

An Animal in the Sack

The next time you read about Riana van Nieuwenhuizen, it'll probably be a story about her face getting clawed off.
Talk about animal "crackers."

A South African woman shares her bed with four cheetahs -- and five lions and two tigers roam her house and 3-acre property.

Riana van Nieuwenhuizen, 46 and single, started adopting wild cats in 2006 in an effort to preserve the endangered species.

As her menagerie of exotic felines expanded, she decided to give up her government job and her social life to create a sanctuary for her furry friends.

"The last feeding is at 10 p.m., so they don't leave much time for dating or a social life. But they keep me happy," van Nieuwenhuizen told The Post.

Scott Lope, operations manager of Big Cat Rescue in Tampa, Fla., says sleeping with big cats is a bad idea.

"The biggest misconception is that when you raise these animals, that they are somehow tame," he said. "They're dangerous creatures. That doesn't change because someone sleeps in a bed with them."

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