The Berlin Zoo has announced the August 5 births of two female Rusty Spotted kittens, the first such births in the zoo’s 168 year history, with the publication of these new photos of the two month old cats and their Mama. At two months old, the kittens are now playing and exploring their living space.
The diminutive, easily tamed cats are called the hummingbirds of the cat family and vie with the African Black Footed cat for the title of world’s smallest cat. The species are not prolific breeders, with limited breeding seasons and only one to two kittens born per litter.
The tiny cats generally measure between 14″ to 19″ long and weigh between 2 to 3.5 pounds at maturity. As of 2002, the Rusty Spotted Cat has been listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, with fewer that 10,000 mature cats in existence, a shrinking habitat, and no more than 1,000 breeing adults in any of the cats’ subpopulations. The cats are native to southern India and the island of Sri Lanka and prefer a home with dense vegetation and rocky areas. They’ve adapted to their environments, with those in India living in grasslands and open forests, and those in Sri Lanka taking to thick, tropical forests. The Berlin Zoo lists the cats’ natural habitat as dry bush and dry grasslands and says the animals are site-faithful to their home territory. There are few Rusty Spotted cats in European zoos, with small populations in Frankfurt and in Rotterdam.