Introducing Salome: Our First Time Cheetah Mom To Be
"A Cheetah Cub's Tail" begins with the story of the mother of our cubs, Salome (which means peace). Salome is only 3 and half years old and this is going to be her first litter. Her personality has been described by the HESC staff as "aggressive".
Something very interesting about Salome is that she carries the "King Cheetah" gene. King cheetahs are a rare mutation of cheetah, identified by unique markings down the cat's back which look like long stripes instead of the normal spots. In this particular case Salome did not mate with a male who also carried the gene, so there won't be any king cheetahs in her litter.
The gestation period for cheetahs is about 90 days, which would put Salome's due date around the beginning of May. However, these are just estimates so it could happen at any time from now going forward. A cheetah litter is usually 3-5 cubs though sometimes it can be as many as nine. The specialists at HESC have told us that judging by the size of Salome's stomach this should be an average size litter.
Currently, Salome is in the HESC maternity ward. She has a large enclosure all to herself, which she needs to feel comfortable. Cheetahs are solitary and their cubs are extremely vulnerable to other predators when they are born. That is why they often try to find a secure hiding place in which to give birth. Which leads us to the small structure connected to her enclosure, "The Maternity House". The house is designed to give her the sense of security she needs, and that of course is where we have placed our first camera to try and capture the birth and the beginning of our cub's story.
As always in nature there is a chance the Salome will decide to give birth outside instead of inside the Maternity House. So we will just have to wait and see how the story unfolds. If she does give birth inside the house the cubs will remain in the structure for about a month, before venturing outside for the first time. We hope to have additional cameras in place by then to capture the cub's first adventure into the great outdoors.
As soon as we get word from the team at HESC that Salome is about to give birth and that she's gone into the Maternity House we are going to begin our LIVE broadcast. Stay tuned for more updates and preview information about "A Cheetah Cub's Tail".