Hello, Tiger Cubs!

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The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has two new, adorable additions to our cat family! In the wee hours of October 5, two 4½-pound Sumatran tiger cubs were born to our female, Delta. This is Delta’s third litter, and she continues to show us what an excellent mother she is.

There are definite, distinct differences between the cubs that we keepers use to note behavior changes or medical concerns. One cub hissed her way from birth to about two weeks old and has since come around; a few strategically placed scratches and she calms right down! She was also smaller and lighter than her sister, until recently. She has polka dots on the back of her neck, double rings on her tail, and what looks like a check mark over her right eye.

The other cub precociously opened her eyes by day two (day six for sis) and loves to sleep. In fact, she pretty much falls asleep anywhere. If we move her from her nap, she hisses a little and falls back asleep. When we pick her up to weigh her, she falls asleep in our arms. If we manipulate her paws to trim her claws, she…falls asleep! She has more dark on her fur than her sister, but is messier on her brow markings.

We have started desensitizing the cubs to various tactile stimuli from head to tail since day two. This is done in the hope that future vet procedures, such as those important vaccinations, won’t be such an event for the little ones. It will be a few more months before Delta introduces them to the Park’s large tiger habitat. Until then, we’ll continue to  enjoy watching them grow.


Tina Hunter is a senior keeper at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read Tina’s previous post, Where Deer and Antelope Continue to Play. Read about the birth of Delta’s second litter in the post Tiger Cubs at the Wild Animal Park.

Note: We need your help to build a new home for our tigers. The Safari Park is raising funds to create a forested world that will feature three distinctive tiger habitats that include rocks for climbing, ponds for swimming, deadwood trees to use as scratching posts, and long grasses for catnapping. We’ll even have numerous viewing areas for you to get up close to see these beautiful creatures, because we know you want to! It will also be home for charismatic birds and captivating reptiles. To learn more or help us….