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  • Katherine Nava

The Smithsonian Zoo Welcomes Five New Cheetah Cubs


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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