TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A den of panther kittens found by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) recently had their final health checkup.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) posted the news on Facebook on Tuesday.
The litter of three kittens were checked out.
According to FWRI, panther kittens are first assessed when they are 2-3 weeks old.
“The panther team waits until the collared mom leaves the den to hunt, then quickly locate the kittens to begin their workup. Each kitten is sexed, weighed, dewormed and microchipped for ID,” FWRI said in the Facebook post.
Panther kittens also receive a small skin biopsy and a tracking collar that will fall off before the kitten reaches maturity.
During the second and final assessment of a panther kitten at age 5-6 weeks, veterinarians check a kitten’s weight and make sure their collars fit properly.
“They camouflage so well, flattening themselves in the brush, staying silent until you’re right next to them, then they hiss,” according to a FWRI panther veterinarian.
According to FWRI, the survival rate for kittens is low at 33%. Data from radio collars can help improve survival and monitor for changes in survival rates.