Smithsonian’s National Zoo: #CheetahCubdate 7: Adventure Weekend & Another New Lair


November 8, 2021

Faithful Cheetah Cub Cam viewers may have already noticed, but on Saturday, November 6, cheetah mom Rosalie moved her cubs from the dens of the webcam and brought them back to the tall grass in her backyard, creating its own natural den.

While we’d like to keep an eye out for cubs via cameras, that’s not always possible. In this case, the animal care staff will still be watching Rosalie and the family while they are in the yard – and of course, we will keep webcam viewers informed via these blogs!

On Saturday we checked in and added hay to the grasses where the cubs were to provide extra bedding and warmth. We also added a third closed den to the yard, but Rosalie and the cubs stayed in the grass on Saturday night.

As I mentioned before, the construction sites are not equipped with web cameras. We can’t (and wouldn’t) move the cameras around, as their placement is technically difficult and could confuse Rosalie and the little ones.

While Rosalie ate breakfast on Sunday morning, we weighed each teddy bear and refreshed the shave marks. All of the cubs were bright, active, and appeared healthy.

As I mentioned in the last update, cubs are becoming more and more mobile. When we are expecting a cheetah mom, we place boards on the bottom half of the dens to prevent cubs from accidentally falling before they’re ready. Once the cubs start to climb the board, we remove them. Animal care staff removed these signs over the weekend to make it easier for the cubs to follow Rosalie in and out of the dens.

Sunday afternoon, we saw Rosalie enter the new third den we have made near the herbs. Without cameras, it is not possible for us to know for sure if she moved the cubs with her. However, it is highly unlikely that she would be in the den without the cubs. Also, during our daily cub checkout on Monday morning, we noticed that the hay in this den was extremely tangled. The cubs were already back in the grass by this check, but it seems the family spent at least part of the night in the den.

The next few days and nights are expected to be warmer at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia. The family now has three dens, one of which is heated, to choose from when the temperatures start to drop again. It’s very natural for a cheetah mom to move her litter and Rosalie does a great job with her cubs. We will continue to do daily checks on the family, as Rosalie allows. Stay tuned for more news!

Do you miss the little cheetahs? Make sure to follow our previous updates!

This press release was produced by the Smithsonian National Zoo. The opinions expressed here are those of the author.

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