(Pittsburgh) (June 2018)—If the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium cat keepers could watch TV all day, their favorite channel would be the keeper cam in the lynx nesting box where four little balls of soft gray fur move about tumbling and swatting each other as they play.
The next milestone for the little kittens is their first veterinary exam. Dr. Ginger Sturgeon, Director of Animal Health, and her team will examine the cubs to ensure they are growing and developing normally, as well as to determine the gender of the kittens.
At one-month-old, the kittens’ ears and eyes are open. Their eyes are a bright blue color. As they mature, their eye color will darken to a brownish hazel. Their fur is light gray as kittens, but it will darken with black markings as they grow which will enable them to blend into their surroundings.
The kittens are extremely active and curious, and they are venturing outside of the nesting den more often. They open their mouths as if they are meowing, but the sound is so soft that only mom can hear it. As they grow, their vocal chords will get stronger and the sound will be louder.
As the kittens move about, Mom Chayne keeps a close eye on her brood. She is very protective and on full alert when keepers are moving in the area to ensure that no one ventures too close to the kittens.
For now, mom and kittens will remain in their back rooms until they are able to go into the outside yard.
Canadian lynx are a North American mammal with ranges across Canada, Alaska, and the northern United States. Extremely agile cats, they can move through several inches of snow with ease. Ninety-six percent of their diet in the wild is snowshoe hares.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife have designated Canadian lynx as threatened. Loss of habitat and poaching are the biggest threats against Canadian lynx in the United States.
Our kittens are wonderful ambassadors for their cousins in the wild as our visitors learn all the ways they can participate in the care and conservation of Canadian lynx.