SAN DIEGO, Cali. (AP) — Two black-footed cat kittens at the San Diego Zoo are getting their first taste of meat.
The kittens were born on April 28 and now weigh a pound and a half each. While they are still being nursed by their mother, zookeepers have begun using tongs to feed them a carnivorous diet of small pieces of meat.
“This allows us to make sure that the cats don’t associate our hands with food so we avoid bites, but also to make sure that we’re far enough distance back that the cats feel comfortable approaching us for their food,” said Chelsea Davis, San Diego Zoo wildlife care specialist.
The male named Ryder and the female named Skyler will grow to be two to three pounds and measure up to 20 inches in length when full-grown.
They are considered the deadliest cats in the world, with a success rate when hunting of 60 percent. In a single night, one black-footed cat can consume up to 14 rodents and birds.
The black-footed cats are native to southern Africa, where around 10,000 remain.
Their name comes from the black pads and thick, black hair on the soles of their feet, which help protect them from the hot sand.