ASHEBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The North Carolina Zoo has announced the birth of three sand cat kittens.

The three kittens were born on May 11 and are small enough to fit into the palm of your hand.

The kittens were born to first-time mother Sahara, 3, and father Cosmo, 9. The triplets also have a sibling in the Triad as Cosmo had previously fathered a daughter, Layla, that currently lives at the Greensboro Science Center.

This was the third birth at the zoo in less than two weeks as a giraffe calf and a chimpanzee infant were born on May 20 and May 21 respectively.

The NC Zoo is currently planning to conduct a public naming poll for the kittens whose sexes are currently unknown. Details for the naming poll will soon be posted on social media and on the zoo’s website.

  • North Carolina Zoo Announces Birth of Sand Cat Kittens

Sahara and the kittens are doing well and the trio is beginning to explore their habitat. Zoo visitors may be able to catch a peek at them in the Desert Habitat in the coming days.

Sand cats are one of the smallest species of felines in the world. They weigh between 4-8 pounds and are on average about 20 inches long. They can live to be 13 years old in human care.

Despite their small stature and cute appearance similar to that of a common house cat, sand cats are “wild, ferocious animals that should never be kept as pets.”

Sand cats are hunters that kill venomous snakes in the desert and are the only species of cats that live exclusively in desert environments. They are native to North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Asia.

Sand cats are rarely sighted in the wild due to being nocturnal in nature as they hunt at night to avoid the desert heat and live in remote landscapes. They have a keen sense of hearing that they use to detect prey under the sand and excellent digging skills that they use to catch them.

The size and lifespan of the wild sand kitten population are unknown as their characteristics make them difficult to study.