Stop it. Stop whatever you are doing and take a moment to watch adorable wild Sand Cat kittens spotted in the Moroccan desert. Though the film was shared in late 2017, it remains a sensation due to the fact that wild sand cat kittens have never before been caught on camera.

As The Independent reports, it took four years and extensive research by conservationists in the Moroccan Sahara to capture the first footage of the Sand Cat kittens. But in April of last year, a team led by biologists Dr. Alexander Sliwa and Grégory Breton succeeded.

Credit: Panthera

On April 26, after concluding a day of research, the team was driving back to camp. All of a sudden, three pairs of glowing eyes were spotted in the darkness. The sandy-colored kittens were discovered hiding in prickly vegetation, where they were left by their mother. As one researcher approached, one of the boldest kittens stepped forward; it then darted back and hid in the undergrowth.

Said Breton, managing director of Panthera France:

“Finding these kittens was astonishing. We believe this was the first time researchers ever documented wild sand cat kittens in their African range.”

The Panthera research team spent an entire hour capturing photographs of the kittens. They then spotted and radio-collared an adult female believed to be their mother.

Watch the video below:

It is no surprise that Sand Cat kittens are hard to capture on film. Not only do their furry coats blend in with the sandy landscape, they never leave behind remains of their prey. The big cats also use quiet vocalizations and travel when it is dark to avoid detection.

As Animal Spot reports, the cats are typically found in the western regions of Morocco, including Algeria and the former Sahara Occidental. Unlike domesticated felines, the Sand Cats prefer flat terrain in desert environments with thin vegetation. Their ability to survive in extreme hot and cold temperatures is astounding. The Sand Cat can survive temperatures 23 °F (−5 °C) to 126 °F (52 °C); when it gets too cold, the big cat darts back into its burrow.

Credit: Panthera

The Sand Cats are surprisingly resilient. Not only can they survive for long periods of time without drinking water, male Sand Cats can travel great distances as long as 3.1 miles in just one night. Though Sand Cats thrive in the wild, they merely survive in captivity. Respiratory diseases, such as upper respiratory tract infections, are the most common cause of their death in captivity.

As the video above shows, the cats drastically differ from domesticated breeds. Not only do they have larger ears, they have a sand-colored coat and wide green eyes. The wild Sand Cats also thrive in a larger territory than house-trained felines. In fact, a radio-telemetry study done in Israel found that one male Sand Cat used an area as wide as 16 km2.

Credit: Panthera

All these facts aside, we think you’ll agree that the Sand Cat kittens are just darn cute. What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!


h/t The Independent, Animal Spot

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