Video Of The Week — Gorgeous Sand Cat Kittens Seen In The Wild For The First Time

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Photo Credit: Gregory Bretton via Panthera.org

In late September, Gregory Breton and his team were returning to their campsite after spending seven long hours scouting the hot, dusty, Moroccan Sahara for sand cats. Suddenly, just four kilometers away from their destination, they noticed three pairs of gleaming eyes. Upon getting closer, the researchers realized they had stumbled upon something that, to their knowledge, had never been encountered in the wild before – sand cat kittens!

Breton, who works with Panthera, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving the world’s 40 wild cat species and their ecosystems, says finding the felines is not easy. That’s because the stealthy animals that are most active at dusk, night, and dawn are extremely good at hiding and have the perfectly colored fur to help them blend in with their environment. The cats also leave behind no visible pugmarks or prey remains, making them extremely hard to track.

Though the kittens that the researchers found were too young for radio-collars, the team did manage to put a tracking device on an adult female sand cat, possibly the mother, that was also discovered in the area. Breton, who outlined the discovery in his blog, writes, "If we collect footage of her and follow her for a long period, we can gather data on the natural reproduction cycles and offspring dispersal of this species in the wild - all topics never before documented."

Photo Credit: Gregory Bretton via panthera.org

Though they may look frail, sand cats, which possess slightly broader faces and bigger ears than domestic cats, are hardy animals. Endemic to northern Africa, the Middle East and southwest and central Asia, the animals endure the desert’s wild temperature fluctuations by digging burrows in the sand or taking shelter beneath rocks and shrubs during the day. The adept hunters obtain most of their moisture from their prey, which includes rodents like mice and gerbils, as well as small birds, lizards, and snakes.

Resources: Panthera.org, earthtouchnews.org

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adeptblendburrowsconservingdestinationdevicedispersalecosystemsencounteredendemicendureenvironmentfelinesfluctuationsfootagefrailgerbilsgleamingpreyradio-collarsscoutingstumbled
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Reading Comprehension (9 questions)

  1. Where were Gregory Breton and his team returning from in late September?
  2. What did they notice four kilometers away from their campsite?
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Vocabulary in Context

Though they may look frail, sand cats, which possess slightly broader faces and bigger ears than domestic cats, are hardy animals.

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1746 Comments
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  • elijahThursday, February 22, 2018 at 4:50 pm
    i love it
    • An98E77aThursday, February 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm
      Omg so cute i want one
      • OmgMonday, February 19, 2018 at 12:15 pm
        So cute
        • the bosstmFriday, February 16, 2018 at 8:30 am
          so cute
          • noa Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 10:37 am
            love it so much it so cute
            • taco catTuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:46 pm
              I Love cats that is adorbs
              • taco catTuesday, February 13, 2018 at 12:46 pm
                SO CUTE
                • CatsMonday, February 12, 2018 at 11:51 am
                  I have been to this one place cat and damage is that a lot more than mom cats at can get it is the tapy lake for a cats birthday contact car coursing otherwise
                  • taco catThursday, February 8, 2018 at 10:04 am
                    I love cats that is adorbs
                    • taco catThursday, February 8, 2018 at 10:02 am
                      That is adorbals

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