Black-Footed Kittens Are a First For Philadelphia Zoo

The first-ever litter of black-footed cats has been born at Philadelphia Zoo and recently made their public debut. But before the kittens could meet their adoring public, there were preparations to be made by the zoo staff. The enclosure was kitten-proofed, and each kitten was dye marked, so their keepers could tell them apart from afar. The water level in the exhibit was lowered and climbing structures were added to make the space more safe and comfortable. Their former sleeping quarters, a kennel, was placed into their enclosure so they would have familiar scents nearby. The two males, Drogon and Viserion, and the female, Rhaegal, seem kitty-cautiously optimistic!

The black-footed cat, native to southern Africa, is the smallest African cat and one of the smallest of the cat species. Adult males weigh only 4.2 pounds and adult females 2.9 pounds on average. Black-footed cats are highly unsociable animals and seek cover at minimal disturbances. When threatened, they defend themselves fiercely. These cats are nocturnal, spending their days resting in dense cover, often in unoccupied burrows of other animals, such as porcupines or aardvarks. They hunt rodents and other small animals after sunset.

Read more and see a video of these black-footed cuties at Zooborns.

Images Credit: Philadelphia Zoo. 

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