The triplets, sexes unknown, came from sand cat father Cosmo, 9, and mother Sahara, 3, on May 11, after roughly 60 days of gestation. A sand cat is smaller than the average house cat at roughly 11 inches tall and seven pounds.
"Though they are quite adorable with their big ears, eyes, and smol [sic] frame, looks can be deceiving," the zoo wrote in a Facebook post. "Sand cats are small but mighty hunters that are known to kill venomous snakes in the desert. They are the only cats to live exclusively in desert environments."
This is the first litter between Sahara and Cosmo, although Cosmo previously fathered a kitten that is now living at the Greensboro Science Center, per a press release from the zoo. Cosmo and Sahara were paired to fulfill Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan, a program created to "maximize genetic diversity, appropriately manage the demographic distribution and long-term sustainability" of certain species in zoos according to its website. Only 13 facilities affiliated with the AZ have sand cats and only six, have breeding pairs.
"The mom and triplets are doing well," the zoo reported. "The trio are beginning to explore their surroundings in the Desert Habitat. Lucky guests may be able to catch a glimpse of them in the coming days."
Sand cats hail from the deserts of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Asia. They are not endangered and rarely seen in nature because they are nocturnal.