The African black-footed cat might be the cutest, least harmful kitten ever, but in reality, it is the deadliest cat in the world. With a success rate of 60 percent while hunting, these itty bitty darlings are straight-up carnivores.
The San Diego Zoo welcomed two black-footed kittens on April 28. Ryder, a male, and Skyler, a female, currently weigh in at a pound and a half each. Black-footed cats typically only weigh two to four pounds well into adulthood but can consume up to 14 rodents and birds in a single night. Compare that to lions who only catch their prey 20 to 25 percent of the time.
Currently, zookeepers feed Ryder and Skyler small pieces of meat with tongs while they’re still nursing from their mother.
“This allows us to make sure that the cats don’t associate our hands with food so we avoid bites. But also to make sure that we’re far enough distance back that the cats feel comfortable approaching us for their food,” Chelsea Davis, wildlife care specialist, told the Associated Press.
The kittens are expected to grow up to a mere 20 inches long and 8 to 10 inches tall, once matured. Black-footed cats are southern African natives. The species gets its name from the black pads and black hair on the soles of their paws. This padding helps protect their feet from the hot sand.
But don’t worry, the black-footed cat’s success rate is why it’s the deadliest. Larger animals like gazelles or humans can thwart attacks from these cuties.
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