Smilodon fatalis

Scientific Name: Smilodon fatalis
Diet: Carnivorous
Projected Natural Lifespan: 15 - 20 years
Length: Around 175 cm (68.8 in)
Weight: Between 160 and 280 kg (353 - 617 lbs)
Locality: North America
Exhibit: The Big Cat House

Smilodon fatalis, also known as the saber-tooth cat, is one of prehistory’s most recognizable creatures. Around 7 inch long sabers paired with a robust and muscular body helped make S. fatalis an apex predator, able to take down beasts such as Bison antiquus, an ancient bison (similar to the Bison latifrons we have on display here) that could weigh over 3,000 lbs. The forests and brushy plains of Pleistocene North America were the preferred habitat of this ambush predator and were its home until around 13,000 years ago, when S. fatalis went extinct.

At Huxley
Currently, Huxley has a pride of three Smilodon fatalis. Half Tooth, easily distinguishable by his dark markings and broken saber, and our two females, Lady and Brea. All the cats are about 4 years old. The group can be found in The Big Cat House, alongside our pair of Babary lions.

Notable Behavior
Though the evidence of Smilodon fatalis living in groups during the Pleistocene is not 100% conclusive, our pride certainly seem to enjoy each other’s company. They can often be found grooming one another, cuddling while taking a cat nap on a hot Australian afternoon, and of course play fighting. Half Tooth and Lady in particular seem to be quite close, which hopefully means Huxley can expect the pitter patter of tiny paws soon.

Keeper Notes
Although they’re all the same age, Brea is definitely still a kitten at heart. She’s quite playful, often being the initiator of any tussles (how do you all think Half Tooth lost part of his saber?), and not shy when it comes to letting visitors and keepers alike know how she feels.

Big Cat House

Keeper Joy here, today I’m going to be sharing some info on my second home: the Big Cat House at Huxley Paleozoo!

Leonidas, one of the Barbary brothers


The Big Cat House is one of the oldest buildings here at Huxley, located just south of the main entrance. It houses all 3 of the extinct felines here at Huxley, this includes our small pride of Smilodon fatalis, our pair of Barbary lions and our American lion cubs.


Each enclosure includes both an outdoor and indoor section which the cats can move between freely during the day, the indoor portions are however off-view from the public. The “House” itself features a nursery (also off-view from the public), educational sections about each feline, and a rest area.


As mentioned above, the Big Cat House features 3 kinds of extinct felines. First are our pride of Smilodon fatalis which is made up of dominant male Half Tooth, adult female Lady and young female Brea. Second is Leonidas and Spartacus, our Barbary lion brothers. Lastly, and the newest members of the house, are Atrox and Sabor, our American lion cubs (who are now being weaned, by the way!) At this time, they still alternate between the nursery and their main enclosure.


Paleo “House sigils” inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire!
I choose some of the most iconic Pleistocene species (Smilodon fatalis, Megaloceros giganteus and Coelodonta antiquitatis), but I’d like to try my hand with some less known fossil species.

you can find them her as well:

The Irish elk was by far the most challenging one but it is also the one I like most.