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Sand cat cub opens eyes 13 days after birth at west Japan zoo

The sand cat cub is seen 14 days after he was born. (Photo courtesy of the Kobe Animal Kingdom)

KOBE -- A sand cat cub born in late August at a zoo in this western Japan city opened his eyes on Sept. 5, some 13 days after birth, and is growing steadily.

    The zoo, Kobe Animal Kingdom in Kobe's Chuo Ward, is working with Nasu Animal Kingdom located in the town of Nasu, Tochigi Prefecture, in eastern Japan, to breed sand cats and this is the third successfully birth in the country.

    The cub measured 15 centimeters long and weighed 59.6 grams just after birth. As the mother often left their den, the zoo judged that she had stopped caring for her baby and switched to artificial nursing.

    Sand cats inhabit deserts from North Africa to Western and Central Asia. They are one of the world's smallest felines and their fur is light brown, which helps them blend into their surroundings. The cats are popular for their big eyes and ears, and are often referred to as "angels of the desert."

    No date has been set yet for the public debut of the sand cat cub. People can monitor her growth records on the zoo's website.

    (Japanese original by Chikako Kida, Kobe Bureau)

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