Mike Tyson is famous for having owned an array of extravagant items. These items included several tigers, one of which he owned for over a decade.
He developed a close bond with Kenya, one of the tigers, before eventually having to give away. In fact, the two were so inseparable that he let it sleep in his bedroom with him.
Mike Tyson used to have several pet tigers
Tyson raised his tigers as cubs, having ordered them while he was serving time in prison. He opened up about the purchase during an interview with GQ.
“At one time, I did have a pet tiger,” Tyson said. “Her name was Kenya. And she was around 550 pounds.”
Tyson got the tigers from one of his friends who imported cars. The friend was considering exchanging cars for exotic animals and managed to convince Tyson to buy a few for himself, according to Insider.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you order me a couple, I’ll be getting out in a couple of months,’” Tyson recalled. “I was in prison. And so when I got out, came home, I had two cubs.’”
Mike Tyson’s tiger slept in his bedroom with him
Tyson had a deep love for his tigers, particularly Kenya. He spent a lot of time with her and allowed her to come inside his massive home. As crazy as it might sound, he even let her sleep in his bedroom with him.
“I had a great affection for her,” Tyson told GQ. “I kept her, I slept with her. I kept her in my room. She stayed with me. I had her for probably 16 years.”
Mike Tyson had to give away his tiger
Eventually, Tyson had to give up Kenya because she began to have health problems associated with old age. Furthermore, she had seriously injured a woman who trespassed onto his property.
“She was a massive monster,” Tyson told GQ. “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. And plus she ripped somebody’s arm off.”
His tiger bit a neighbor
For the most part, Tyson’s tigers didn’t cause much trouble. However, things changed when Kenya attached a neighbor who trespassed onto Tyson’s property. The neighbor wanted to play with Kenya, but the tiger wasn’t friendly toward strangers.
“Somebody jumped over my fence where my tiger was and … started playing with the tiger,” Tyson said. “The tiger didn’t know the lady so there was a bad accident.”
His neighbor initially tried to sue him for the incident, but Tyson was not at fault since she had trespassed onto his property. Regardless, Tyson gave the woman a hefty sum of money after seeing the damage Kenya did to her.
“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—– up,” Tyson said.
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