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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Why is it important for organizations like Panthera to...

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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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1854 Comments
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  • Hadley yWednesday, June 13, 2018 at 10:55 am
    these cats are so cute
    • aviscomerice
      aviscomericeWednesday, June 13, 2018 at 10:54 am
      cute but... scary
      • :(Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at 9:14 am
        OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • Emily G.Friday, June 8, 2018 at 7:55 am
          Cute...
          • mharrington
            mharringtonWednesday, June 13, 2018 at 10:17 am
            same
          • EfsSunday, June 3, 2018 at 11:10 am
            I CAN'T STAND THE CUTENESS EVEN THOUGH MY DOG IS INSANELEY ADORABLE
            • Emily G.Friday, June 1, 2018 at 7:52 am
              Amazing, but how??
              • The TRUTHFriday, June 1, 2018 at 5:59 am
                AAAAAWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!!!
                • walketri000
                  walketri000Friday, May 25, 2018 at 6:03 am
                  sooo cute
                  • KatloverThursday, May 24, 2018 at 7:45 am
                    these kitties are adorable! where did you find them?
                    • wonder900
                      wonder900Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 7:08 am
                      I literally want to cry right now they are so cute I wonder if I can take all them home? But still so cute O M G

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