Royal menageries started in Europe during the early medieval times when strange beasts were offered as royal gifts.
Owning rare and impressive animals was a sign of status and power. It would have been the first time people had ever encountered many of these mysterious animals.
As European expeditions explored more of the world, the animals at the Tower came from further and further away. The variety of exotic creatures on display showed that the king had influence across the globe.
The first royal beasts to arrive at the Tower - the lions, polar bear and elephant - came from Europe and North Africa. Over 600 years later, there were over 60 species on show, including alligators from the Americas, tigers from Asia and kangaroos from Australia.
In 1829, the Royal Menagerie housed:
1 barbary lioness, 2 tigers, 3 leopards, 1 jaguar, 1 puma, 1 ocelot, 1 caracal, 2 cheetahs, 1 striped hyena, 1 hyena-god, 3 African bloodhounds, 2 Javanese civets, 1 grey ichneumon, 1 paradoxorus, 1 brown coati, 2 racoons, 1 American black bear, 1 grizzly bear (i.e. Old Martin), 1 Tibet bear, 1 Bornean bear, monkeys, 1 bonneted monkey, 1 pig-faced baboon, 1 baboon, 2 white-headed mongooses, 3 kangaroos, 1 African porcupine, 1 Asiatic elephant, 1 zebra, 2 llamas, 1 Malaysian rusadeer, 1 albino Indian antelope, 1 African sheep, 1 great sea eagle, 1 golde eagle, 1 bearded griffin, 1 griffin vulture, 1 secretary bird, 1 Virginian horned owl, 1 deep-blue macaw, a blue and yellow macaw, 1 yellow crested cockatoo, 2 emus, 1 crowned crane, 2 pelicans from Hungary, 1 alligator, 1 Indian boa, 2 anacondas, 100 rattlesnakes, varying in length from four to six feet.
Under a stream of successive monarchs, the Royal Menagerie was home to leopards, tigers, lions, elephants, zebras, alligators, kangaroos and grizzly bears, until the 1830s, when the remaining animals became part of the founding collection of London Zoo.