#CheetahCubdate 9: An Ice Bucket Challenge

This update was written by Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute carnivore keeper Amber Dedrick and cheetah biologist Adrienne Crosier.

Our newest pair of cheetah cubs, Ziad and Enzi, are doing great. At this stage in their development, their adult teeth are just starting to erupt. They are getting very brave and like to hiss at me whenever I’m near the fence. It’s funny how they are acting like such tough guys already at only 6 months old!

The warm weather has brought the cubs new enrichment activities, including a tub filled with ice cubes. As you can see in the video, it’s a quick paws-in, paws-out situation.

But, when we put their horse bones in the ice tub, it was enough of a draw to get the cubs into the ice. 

Beyond the fun of watching the cubs experience ice for the first time, this activity is another important way we use enrichment. In this case, the cubs had to navigate a strange new situation in order to get what they want. Plus, it gives them a chance to investigate a new material and react to it. They didn’t like the ice when they first touched it, but they like their bones so much they had to be brave and get into the tub to retrieve them. Which they did!

One thing we should mention is that our cubs are spending a lot less time on our Cheetah Cub Cam in their den. They really seem to like being outside now that that the weather is warmer, and they are starting to spend more time in the shade as the trees develop their leaves again. And Ziad, Enzi, and mom Amani all enjoy spending time under their firehose bed we made for them earlier.

Can’t wait for the next #Cheetahcubdate? Try to catch a glimpse of this cheetah family any time on the Cheetah Cub Cam. Catch up on previous #CheetahCubdates here.