It’s triplets! Sand cat kittens born at NC Zoo

Sand Cat Kittens
Sand cat kittens born at the NC Zoo (Photo: NC Zoo)

ASHEBORO, NC (WWAY) — Three sand cat kittens were born in May at the NC Zoo.

Small enough to fit into the palm of your hand, the kittens were born to first-time mother Sahara, 3, and father Cosmo, 9, on May 11.

This marks the first litter for the sand cat pair. The zoo says the mom and triplets are doing well. The trio are beginning to explore their surroundings in the Desert Habitat. Lucky guests may be able to catch a glimpse of them in the coming days!

Though they appear adorable with big ears, eyes, and petite frame, looks can be deceiving. Zookeepers are quick to tell you they are wild, ferocious animals that should never be kept as pets.

These small and mighty hunters kill venomous snakes in the desert. They are the only cats to live exclusively in desert environments.

Cosmo and Sahara were paired as a part of the Sand Cat Species Survival Plan and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), which aims to maintain a healthy and genetically diverse population of sand cats to increase their numbers. More than 50 sand cats live at more than 20 AZA institutions.

Sand cats are native to the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia.

Sand cats are rarely sighted in the wild because they live in remote landscapes, hunt at night to avoid the desert heat, and are secretive in nature, which makes it challenging to study them. The size of the population and lifespan in the wild is unknown.

The sand cat is one of the world’s smallest feline species, weighing from four to eight pounds and measuring, on average, 20 inches long. The gestation period is around 60 days. Under human care, a sand cat can live to be 13 years old.

The zoo plans to offer a public naming poll for the kittens. Details will be announced soon on the Zoo’s social media channels and website.

The triplets mark the third birth at the zoo in less than two weeks. On May 20, a giraffe calf was born, and a chimpanzee infant was born on May 21.

Categories: Features, NC, NC-Carolinas, News