The Smithsonian Zoo welcomed five new baby cheetahs on October 12th, 2021. The five cubs were born to five-year-old Rosalie and sired by ten-year-old Nick, the first cheetah born at the SCBI. The cubs were Rosalie’s first litter, and all five cubs were quickly determined to be in good health. While the sex of the cubs has not been confirmed definitively, zookeepers believe that Rosalie gave birth to three boys and two girls.

Fun Cheetah Facts

Cheetahs are incredible animals best known for their distinctive, spotted bodies and high running speeds. They have quickly become one of the most distinguishable large cats from the Felidae family, which includes lions, jaguars, leopards, tigers, and many other famous big cats. Here are some fun cheetah facts that you may not know:

  • Cheetahs Are the Fastest Land Animal: Cheetahs are the fastest animal in the world when it comes to land creatures. They can run up to 61 mph and can go from 0 to 60 mph in three seconds. Additionally, cheetahs have an uncanny ability to change direction swiftly and even jump sideways.

  • Cheetahs Have an Incredibly Long History: Cheetah fossils indicate that these graceful cats have an incredibly long history, with the oldest fossils coming in at one to two million years old.

  • Different From Other Big Cats: Unlike many big cats, adult female cheetahs often live alone, even after having cubs. When it comes to their babies, cheetahs care for their cubs for about a year before leaving to live alone again. Additionally, cheetahs can’t roar like other big cats, and there’s no end to their mating season.

  • Baby Cheetahs Have High Mortality Rates in the Wild: Unfortunately, baby cheetahs have unusually high mortality rates in the wild. It’s estimated that around 95 percent of all cheetahs die before reaching adulthood due to other predators, lions, or disease.

Bundles of Cuteness: What We Know So Far

Rosie’s babies appear healthy, fat, and happy. At a few weeks old, their ears and eyes have begun to open. While mom has moved the cubs around their exhibit, they’ve finally settled back inside of the artificial den, allowing online viewers and zookeepers to watch them from the Cheetah Cub Cam.

While the baby cheetahs aren’t due for their full exam until late November, zookeepers were able to weigh the cubs in late October. The cubs each weighed between 2 and 2.6 pounds – making them on track for cubs of their age.

As the cubs have continued to grow, they’ve begun to wander away from mom to explore their immediate environment before returning to her side. Zookeepers expect that they may start to venture outside the den alongside their mother in the coming weeks.

How to See the New Baby Cheetahs

The new baby cheetahs aren’t currently viewable to the public in person as the zoo is giving them time to grow and bond with their mother, Rosie. However, you can watch these beautiful babies online by viewing the zoo’s Cheetah Cub Cam. The cam livestreams from the cheetah’s artificial that they’re currently residing in.

Stop by LiLLiES After Your Trip to the Zoo

Cheetahs are incredible animals and a vulnerable species. But, thanks to the conservation efforts at the Smithsonian National Zoo, these five new cubs are thriving. Be sure to check out these balls of cuteness on the Cheetah Cub Cam and visit them in person once you’re able to.

Be sure to visit LiLLiES after your trip to the zoo to enjoy exquisite Italian cuisine and get 10 percent off your meal when you bring your zoo pass!

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October is National Pasta Month in America, and we’re ready to celebrate! Pasta has become one of the most accessible foods worldwide. While pasta is a traditional part of Italian cuisine, every country has its own unique take on this popular meal. That’s because pasta is simple and affordable ingredients have made it a staple in almost every home.

So, what’s the best way to celebrate this delicious holiday month? By indulging in exquisite Italian cuisine, of course! But while you sit back and enjoy your favorite pasta dishes, let’s take a closer look at pasta, including its history, how it’s made today, and some fun and interesting facts that you may not know.

The History of Pasta

The history of pasta is rather complicated. Pasta is traditionally associated with Italy. In fact, the average Italian consumes more than 25 kg of pasta each year. However, the first historical reference we’ve gathered on modern-day pasta was recorded in Sicily in 1154. It’s believed that pasta was first brought to Italy from China in the 13th century. However, modern-day pasta is more likely to descend from Asian noodles.

So why is the history of pasta so complicated, you ask? The name is at least partly to blame. “Pasta” is an Italian word for “paste,” referencing the dough it is made from. However, archeologists now believe that pasta originated from Asia, which likely produced noodles for thousands of years.

It’s believed that pasta was first brought to America by early Spanish settlers. However, its rise in popularity in the U.S. was initially thanks to Thomas Jefferson, who brought cases of macaroni back with him after a lengthy stay in Paris from 1784 to 1789. After that, a variety of pasta dishes quickly became familiar to Americans in the 19th century, thanks to Italian immigrants.

How is Pasta Made Today?

The most common types of pasta are made from three simple ingredients: water, salt, and durum wheat. That’s it. The three ingredients are mixed together until it becomes dough, or “paste,” as the translation would lead us to believe. The dough is then molded into different shapes to create the various pasta types.

However, another way of making pasta is to combine those three ingredients with egg, which creates a softer pasta. This type of pasta is called fresh pasta, and it’s likely used in some of your favorite pasta dishes.

Fun and Interesting Facts About Pasta

Want to learn more about pasta? Here are some of the most fun and interesting facts.

  • There are over 600 pasta types

  • The three most popular pasta dishes in America are spaghetti, lasagna, and macaroni and cheese

  • Pasta is traditionally eaten by hand

  • Italy produces more than 1,432,990 tons of pasta each year

  • The largest “bowl” of spaghetti was created in California when the restaurant Buca di Beppo filled an entire swimming pool with pasta.

  • The largest pasta importers are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and France

Celebrating National Pasta Month at LiLLiES

National Pasta Month is your chance to try new pasta types and classic favorites. While the history of pasta may be complicated, its delicious taste is something we can all agree on! So what are your favorite pasta dishes, and how do you intend to celebrate National Pasta Month?

Are you celebrating National Pasta Month? Come celebrate at LiLLiES with one of our flavorful pasta dishes.

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The Smithsonian's National Zoo brought in two friendly new faces that made their first public appearances in July. In May, collared lemur brothers Bentley and Beemer were acquired from the Bronx Zoo and recently begun a new training program at the zoo.

The three-year-old brothers are very sweet-natured and have quickly warmed up to the zoo's keepers. Their diets consist of mixed nuts, acorn squash, vegetables, and dried fruits. While Bentley is keener on exploring their new habitat, Beemer seems especially fond of food and frequently stays behind to enjoy a delicious meal.

There are several lemur species, and the zoo is now home to six lemurs of three different species. Beemer and Bentley were slowly introduced to the zoo's other four lemurs as the brothers began to share the same habitat.

What Do Collared Lemurs Look Like?

As adults, collared lemurs are around the size of a large house cat. They typically weigh around 5.5 pounds once they are fully grown. Their distinguished coats are different based on their sex. Female collared lemurs typically have gray faces, reddish-brown coats, and distinctive reddish-brown beards. Like Bentley and Beemer, male lemurs are brownish-gray with a lighter underside, dark-colored tails, a dark stripe down their back, and cream-colored to reddish-brown beards.

Where do Lemurs Live?

Collared lemurs are only naturally found in southeast Madagascar. These lemurs live in montane forests and moist tropical lowlands. They are essential to the forests they live in as they are a critical seed disperser species. That means that these lemurs play a crucial role in plant fitness and survival throughout their environments.

Are Lemurs Endangered?

Collared lemurs are an endangered species. It's estimated that only between 5,000 and 9,500 of these lemurs live in their natural Madagascar habitats. Unfortunately, this endangered status is shared among most species of lemurs. There are over 100 lemur species, and most of those species are critically endangered, endangered, or vulnerable. Recently, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimated that over 98 percent of these beautiful animals will face extinction in the wild within the next 20 years.

Lemurs are primarily endangered due to habitat loss from deforestation for charcoal and agriculture production. However, collared lemurs are frequently hunted for food and captured to be used as exotic pets.

Fun Collared Lemur Facts

There are many interesting, fun lemur facts, including:

  • Most species of lemur have a female-dominant society.

  • Lemurs play a significant role in local folklore. For example, many Malagasy people believe that the spirits of their ancestors reside within lemurs.

  • Aside from humans, lemurs are the only primate species that can have blue eyes.

  • Lemurs are the oldest living primates in the world

When to See Bentley and Beemer at the Zoo

Brothers Bentley and Beemer can be visited at the Lemur Island at the Smithsonian National Zoo. The pair is most active between 8 AM and 2 PM on good weather days. However, Bentley and Beemer are still getting used to their new environment. They don't often venture too far into their new home. Bentley and Beemer are commonly spotted near the keeper's door.

End Your Trip to the Zoo with Delicious Italian Food

Be sure to stop by Lemur Island on your next trip to the Smithsonian National Zoo to see Beemer, Bentley, and their lemur friends.

After seeing these beautiful collared lemurs, stop by LiLLiES Restaurant and Bar to enjoy delicious Italian cuisine. Bring your zoo pass to get an extra ten percent off of your meal.

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