Two caracal kittens have made their media debut at two weeks old at Oregon Zoo. Born to mum Peggy on September 11 2015 the pair consists of 1 male and one female.
“Peggy has been a terrific mom,” Keeper, Laura Weiner said, “She’s very protective. We put a bunch of straw in her den box as bedding, and she’s been covering the little ones up with it, hiding them. Wild cats of all species hide their kittens like that to protect them from predators.”
Born with their ears folded down, like those of all cats, only the females had popped up at the two week check in. When they do pop up they are huge for such a little cat and tufted with black fur helping them to detect their prey.
Currently the cubs are off-exhibit while they bond with mum. Their father, Cricket is enjoying their spacious habitat equipped with trees, shrubs, heated rocks and grassy knolls which forms part of the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit.
Cricket hails from South Africa in April 2011 having been born at the Lory Park Zoo and Owl Sanctuary. Peggy is a longer term resident of Oregon Zoo moving from a conservation centre in Mena, Ark during 2009.
They were brought together under a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as they come from the same subspecies.
Caracals are declining in the wilds of North Africa, Southwest Asia and the Arabian Peninsula due to hunting and habitat loss.
Unfortunately this species is also perceived by some as a good pet. They can grow up to 26kg (57lb) and can take down a full grown Impala which can grow up to 76kg (168lb). As a strong hunter this species has needs which most people cannot meet in their own home.
Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo