#CheetahCubdate 3: Ready, Set, Play!

Amani’s two male cubs are one month old, ready to play and are back making appearances on the Cheetah Cub Cam! While the cheetah family has been spending most of their time outdoors in the tall grasses, Amani does lead the cubs into the den to sleep sometimes. Lucky viewers may even catch the cubs exploring a den on their own.

Lucky Cheetah Cub Cam viewers may have witnessed the cubs wrestling last week in the den. As the boys have become more mobile, they have discovered they can play with one another!

The cubs have been getting better at walking and are discovering they can play with one another. Last week, keepers and lucky webcam viewers caught the cubs wrestling in one of the dens after an afternoon nap. Keepers have also witnessed the cubs playing and rolling down a mound in their yard. Play behavior will continue to increase as they learn skills like stalking, chasing and pouncing.

Having more mobility also allows the cubs to explore more! They get bouts of energy where they leave the tall grasses and move away from Amani. If she doesn’t like where the cubs are wandering off to, and they aren’t listening when she calls them back, Amani will pick them up and bring them to where she wants them.

Two 1-month-old cheetah cubs sit in a den. The floor of the den is covered in hay. The cub on the right has his mouth open, which the one on the left does not.
Just like a wild cheetah mom, Amani will communicate to her cubs when she needs them to stay. Earlier this month while Amani was eating, keepers captured this photo of the cubs waiting in the den.

Amani is coming to the realization that she has to try to keep the cubs organized. It’s a learning process and she continues to do wonderfully.

One day last week Amani had the cubs in a more open area of the yard. One cub started exploring a little further away from her. Amani began calling to him and he returned to where she was. 

There is a lot of vocal and non-vocal communication between a mother cheetah and her cubs. In the wild, a female needs her cubs to stay put when she tells them so that predators don’t discover them. Cheetah Cub Cam viewers should turn up the volume when tuning in. You may hear some mother-cub communication!

Keepers have watched the cubs explore and play outside. They’ve climbed to the top of the mound, tried to climb a rock and even made it to the furthest corners of the yard.

On Sunday, November 6, one of the keepers witnessed the cubs come into the small sub-yard where Amani eats for the first time. This was a big mobility milestone! They sniffed Amani’s food bowl and the keeper offered some treats on a spoon for them to investigate. They weren’t quite ready to take food from keepers yet, but it was still exciting for them to get that close. These are the youngest cubs we have had to reach the small yard. They are very advanced for 1-month-old cubs! 

The darker-furred cheetah cub (1 month old) lays in a plastic blue bin. He is looking up with his mouth open, showing a few small teeth coming in.
Take a close look at this cubs’ mouth! He and his brothers’ teeth have started coming in.

Beyond getting their feet under them, the cubs’ teeth are coming in! We will soon be able to start offering them the same meat diet Amani gets but broken down into appropriate-size pieces. Stay tuned for a tasty update in the coming weeks!

Keep an eye on the Cheetah Cub Cam to catch a glimpse of this cheetah family and catch up on previous #CheetahCubdates here.