Wednesday 24 January 2018

Lynx trio leave den for first time

Female European Lynx kittens born in June venture outside their enclosure for the first time
Female European Lynx kittens born in June venture outside their enclosure for the first time

They look like normal kittens but the pointy tufts on the end of these furry youngsters' ears are a give-away to their true identity.

The female triplets are Eurasian lynx, Europe's largest wild cats, who have now taken their first steps outside the den where they were born in June.

The as-yet unnamed sisters were born at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire to parents Maja and Timo.

Now they are big enough to venture out on their own, their keepers say the playful kittens can be spotted perched on logs and playing hide and seek with each other in the long grass while mum keeps a close watch.

Senior keeper Carole Day said: "Mum's doing a sterling job of looking after all three kittens. They are starting to become more adventurous and independent and are having lots of fun exploring their paddock."

Lynx are a crepuscular species, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. The kittens are no exception, with keepers at the zoo seeing them playing most often at the beginning and end of the day.

The triplets were born blind and helpless, weighing between 8.5oz and 15oz.

But they are already showing off the distinctive pointed ears and large padded paws that help them walk on snow in their usual forest habitat in Scandinavia, Siberia and east and south-east Asia, where they hunt anything from deer to hares, fish, squirrels, mice and birds.

They will not develop their distinctive spotted markings for another few months yet.

They will reach their adult size, up to 1.3m (4.2ft) in length, 70cm (2.2ft) high and weighing up to 18kg (40lb), after around two years.

Press Association

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