By Harriet Whitehead
It looks like hell has frozen over as Lucifer the lion unleashes his frosty breath during this week’s cold snap.
The majestic beast was captured on camera by a visitor at Paignton Zoo, Devon, on Wednesday.
The sequence of images show Lucifer baring his teeth and looking up to the sky as he enjoys a yawn in the early morning sunshine with the final image appearing to show him doing an evil laugh.
The rare Asiatic lion is named Lucifer after his zoo identification number 666.
The photographer, who does not want to be named, took the pictures this week as Britain was hit by freezing temperatures.
He said: “It was a really frosty morning. It was a hard frost so was exceptionally cold.
“I had gone down just after the zoo opened and I happened to be there when Lucifer yawned.
“I saw it was a nice photo opportunity and thought they came out pretty well. Luckily his hot breath was highlighted by the sun.
“I’ve photographed the lions many times but have never got a shot of them breathing like that before. It was one I was trying to achieve.
“It’s the way the breath is coming out of his mouth and the light catches it – I thought that came out really well.”
The photographer, who is a regular at the zoo and passionate about conservation, said Lucifer was named after his zoo identification number 666.
The Asiatic lion, who just celebrated his fifteenth birthday, lives with two adult lionesses Maliya and Indu and his two cubs Yali and Arya.
The photographer also captured his two cubs cuddling up to each other keep warm.
He said: “Lucifer is a fairly relaxed lion. He lazes around most of the time like most lions do when they’re not hunting or eating.
“He’s an Asiatic Lion and there are only about 650 left in the wild around the Gir Forest National Park in India which is a lot to do with habitat loss.”
“It’s about capturing the moment, promoting conservation at the zoo and raising awareness of these animals which are endangered.”