Zoo in Chile lets brave visitors tickle a lion's tummy - from the safety of a cage

A tourist watches a lion at close quarters at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A tourist watches a lion at close quarters at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Tourists watch a lion from inside a cage on a vehicle at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Tourists watch a lion from inside a cage on a vehicle at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A child inside a cahe takes a close up picture of a lion being fed at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A child inside a cahe takes a close up picture of a lion being fed at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Children inside a cage watch as a lion climgs on top of their cage at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Children inside a cage watch as a lion climgs on top of their cage at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
Children inside a cagereach up to touch a lion at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. The zoo gives thrill-seekers a chance to touch a lion's belly with their hands. -- PHOTO: AFP
Children inside a cagereach up to touch a lion at the Safari Lion Zoo in Rancagua, Chile, on Oct 30, 2014. The zoo gives thrill-seekers a chance to touch a lion's belly with their hands. -- PHOTO: AFP

RANCAGUA, Chile (AFP) - Dare ya, double dare ya, to tickle a lion's belly. Or touch his menacing claws.

A zoo in Chile gives thrill seekers a chance to do just that, albeit while comfy and snug in the safety of a cage mounted on a safari truck. Atop it, lured by a slap of fresh red meat, is the mighty heaving feline.

Welcome to the Safari zoo in Rancangua in central Chile, where vehicles takes visitors on a drive through a 2ha enclosure that is home to six lions. Travellers ride inside the caged-in back of the truck.

Then it's up to the lions to decide what they feel like doing: ambling up for a sniff, climbing atop to eat the meat and look at the cowering humans below, or even lying down for a rest. Then, just stick a brave finger through the metal grates and there you are, touching the king of the jungle's tummy.

Safari park is the first of its kind in Chile and one of few in Latin America.

The idea is for people to see animals in their natural habitat, in effect with people caged up rather than the majestic animals themselves.