I’ve been remiss finding animal cams this year, but reader Christian called my attention to a good one from the Richmond Times-Dispatch.   The cam, which you can see livestreamed here, shows a cheetah mom and her five cubs, born at the Metro Richmond Zoo October 6. (The cam operates 24/7.)

They’re only five weeks old, and adorable:


There is absolutely no chance of me holding or petting one of these. 😦

An article in the paper today describes the situation:

Lions and tigers, male and female, will hang out together and breed. Cheetahs are different. If a male and female are together all the time, the thrill is gone. For the female, “it’s like living with their brother,” Meeks said.

In a section of the Richmond zoo closed to the public, Andelin got the feline vibe going through an elaborate process that involved putting two males in an enclosure, where they left their scents, then removing them and putting Lana in that enclosure.

That seemed to excite her. When she saw the males through a fence, she seemed even more interested. Finally, one of the males, Kitu, was allowed to spend time with Lana, and the result three months later was the five cubs.

The cubs, which weighed less than a pound at birth, are now about 4 pounds each, roughly half the size of a house cat.

[Zoo director]Andelin hopes to put the youngsters on public display eventually, but that’s not guaranteed. They would have to be moved to a different enclosure, which can be stressful for the animals.

Andelin said he plans to keep the Cheetah Cam running for several months — “as long as we continue to get good footage and there is interest.” Cheetahs mature in about two years.



  1. J Cook
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Somewhere I have a photo of a female cheetah with her front feet on my shoulders licking my face. their coat is kinda rough and their tongue even more so. Too much licking will remove skin. It was taken at the Nairobi N.P. orphanage in ’77 or ’79.I was privileged to know the woman running the place They have been ‘people’s pets’ for millennia.

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been lucky enough to have the palm of my hand licked by both a lion and a tiger. Easy enough when you hand is covered in blood, and safe enough when it’s through the bars of an enclosure.

      The tiger’s tongue was incredibly rough, almost like #40 sandpaper, while the lion’s was very smooth, more like a d*g’s than a cat’s.

  2. mordacious1
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Awwww!! Those guys are way too cute!

  3. moarscienceplz
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey Prof. Ceiling Cat,
    Do you have any interesting facts about Cheetahs as a species? For instance, I believe I’ve heard that cheetahs seem to have gone through a genetic bottleneck about 10,000 years ago. Does that really make the species much more susceptible to extinction, as some science writers have claimed, or is that hyperbole? The California Condor population fell to a few dozen in the 1980’s yet I don’t think I’ve heard anybody express extreme concern that they are genetically precarious.

    • Merilee
      Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

      I believe their nails stick out permanently like a d*g’s…

    • Dominic
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      Genetic diversity among Californian Condors

      There have been a number of species rescued from the brink, that have dwindled to a tiny population before they recovered, European bison, American bison, Pere David’s deer among others. They are potentially more vulnerable to a virulent disease as you suggest, witness Ulmus procera which is it seems is a clone so has no resitence to ‘Dutch’ elm disease.

      Natural selection is all you need. Why religious nutters cannot see that is beyond me.

    • teacupoftheapocalypse
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Genetic diversity is, indeed, a major problem with cheetahs and it is getting worse as the wild population declines. Not least, this manifests itself in problems with their hips, which, of course affects their ability to sprint and hunt.

      Some of the major zoos around the World are engaged in a program to try and solve this problem, but, so far, without clear success.

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted November 13, 2013 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks everybody for the info. Especially the condor link and the info about cheetah hips.

  4. Posted November 12, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    “The cubs, which weighed less than a pound at birth, are now about 4 pounds each, roughly half the size of a house cat.”

    Or a quarter the size, as the case may be!

  5. x21133
    Posted November 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Enlightening, i'n't it?.

  6. Diane G.
    Posted November 13, 2013 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Too cute!

  7. Posted November 13, 2013 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Many thanks to evolution and natural selection for producing two things: 1) these awesome creatures and 2) a human brain capable of appreciating these awesome creatures.

    So damn cute that I get misty-eyed just looking at them.

  8. Tiffany
    Posted November 14, 2013 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    Squee! Funny enough, in the two years or so that I’ve lived here I’ve never visited the zoo. Now I have an excuse!

  9. Posted November 14, 2013 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I love these animals and would love to get close to them one day!

  10. rainbowwarriorlizzie
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink


  11. Merilee
    Posted November 17, 2013 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    A friend just sent me a terrible pun:

    Don’t play cards in the Serengeti; they’re too many cheetahs!

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