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Does Mike Tyson still have his pet tiger?

Mike Tyson is a long-time admirer of exotic pets
Mike Tyson is a long-time admirer of exotic pets
Johny Payne
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No. Mike Tyson currently does not have his famous pet tiger Kenya.

In fact, it's believed Iron Mike has given up all of the tigers he bought during his time as a professional fighter.


Mike Tyson has often spoken about how much he loved his pet tigers

The former professional boxing Undisputed Heavyweight Champion and all round combat sports legend has spoken fondly time and again about his pet tigers. Tyson’s love for pigeons is also well-documented.

During an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Mike Tyson opened up about his experiences buying the tigers.

Back in 1992, when Mike Tyson was in prison in relation to the sexual assault case against him, Tyson was in discussions with a car dealer. Tyson and the dealer had a mutual friend, and the dealer was about to sell the friend’s cars away as the latter purportedly wasn’t financially capable of maintaining them at the time.

The dealer happened to tell Mike Tyson that he’d sell the cars in exchange for some horses. This piqued Tyson’s interest. And the dealer subsequently told him that he could even get cougars, lions, tigers, and other such exotic pets in exchange for his cars.

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Why did Mike Tyson give away his pet tiger Kenya?

Mike Tyson has confessed to spending exorbitant amounts of money during the prime of his fighting career. One of Tyson’s passions – his love for animals, including exotic pets like tigers – lead him to buy three white Bengal tigers.

The three tigers cost him more than $70,000 each. Additionally, the cost to maintain these pets was exceptionally high compared to other domesticated animals. This included expenditure on trainers, caretakers, the pets’ diet, nutrition, etc.

During an appearance on GQ Sports, Mike Tyson recalled the time he used to live with his most beloved pet tiger, Kenya:

“At one time, I did have a pet tiger. Her name was Kenya. And she was around 550 pounds. I had great affection for her. I kept her. I slept with her. I kept her in my room. She stayed with me. I had her for probably 16 years. She was a massive monster. You can’t imagine the size of her. She got too old, and I had to get rid of her. Her eyes and her hip got bad. Plus, she ripped somebody’s arm off.”

Intriguingly, Mike Tyson, during his appearance on the JRE podcast, suggested that owning pet tigers wasn’t the best idea. The pair even joked about how dangerous and naïve the move was on Tyson’s part.

Furthermore, in a conversation with rapper Fat Joe, Mike Tyson revealed that the woman whose arm was ripped off by Kenya was a trespasser on his property. Kenya didn’t know the woman, which is why she attacked. Tyson stated :

"Somebody jumped over my fence where my tiger was and…started playing with the tiger. The tiger didn't know the lady so there was a bad accident…Listen, when I saw what the tiger did to her…I had a lot of money back then so I gave her $250,000, whatever it was, because she was just f**ked up."
"I didn't know what they could do to a person's flesh. I had no idea…You know what I learned? I was foolish. There's no way you're going to domesticate these cats 100 percent…There's no way that's going to happen…They kill you by accident, they don't even mean to kill you. They do it by accident – too strong.”

The woman and others initially tried to sue Mike Tyson. Ultimately, they dropped the case due to her trespassing at the time. Either way, Tyson did wind up paying her $250,000.

That said, Mike Tyson has consistently reiterated the love and respect he has for Kenya as well as the other tigers he’s owned over the years. Presently, Mike Tyson is planning on competing in more exhibition boxing matches, akin to his blockbuster bout against Roy Jones Jr. in November 2020.


Edited by John Cunningham
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