For the first several days, keepers will not disturb the family. They will place fresh food and water at the nest box’s opening, but will not open the box. A few days after birth, they start daily cleaning of the nest box. This is accomplished by offering the mother a fresh, clean nest box, which she will naturally go to investigate. When she does this, keepers will confine her to the new box for a brief period of time before allowing her to move the kits into the new box. This brief confinement allows keeper staff to safely check on the kits with minimal disturbance to the mom.
At the initial box check, the kits will be counted and receive a quick once-over before mom is reintroduced and allowed to move the kits. Once she has moved all her kits, the old box is removed and cleaned. When the kits are 10 days old, keepers will determine their genders and check their weights to make sure they are an appropriate size. They will continue to weigh the kits periodically to monitor their growth.
Once the kits open their eyes, keepers reduce the time they spend handling the kits. Because many of these kits will be reintroduced to the wild, keepers minimize contact with the kits to prevent them from becoming too familiar with, and thus not scared of, humans.
Keepers will open the nest box to offer the kits meat when they are 21 days old. The kits may try the meat but usually will not consistently eat meat until they are 30-35 days old. At 50 days old, keepers only handle the kits for medical reasons, such as vaccinations, exams and micro-chipping. Once keepers observe the kits venturing out of the box frequently, they will offer them food outside of the nest box.