Cheetah Cubs Still Cute, Get Toys

We know you're relieved to hear this.

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National Zoo
The National Zoo's older set of cheetah cubs are seven months old now, but never fear. Even though there's a newer, tinier batch of cubs these days, the older cubs -- Nick and Maggie -- are still pretty cute themselves.
National Zoo
The cubs live at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., and on Monday, they got some new cardboard toy animals made by overnight campers at the institute.
National Zoo
"Maggie was very brave," the zoo reports. "She ran right over and started chewing on the [cardboard] animal. Nick was slower to come up but was kind of stalking his prey. Maggie tore off a limb and ran away to enjoy it in peace. Nick proceeded to attack the animal and tore off its head." ...Awww!
National Zoo
It's not just a cardboard box; it's "an enrichment item."
National Zoo
"We have moved other females closer to them so they are still getting used to having neighbors," the zoo says. "Nick is very protective of his mother and sister, which is very cute."
National Zoo
Technically, Nick's mother and sister are his foster family. Nick and Maggie were both born as single cubs, but cheetah moms typically can't produce enough milk when they only have one baby. Keepers gave Nick to Zazi (Maggie's mom) so she could raise them both.
National Zoo
Nick's biological mother, Amani, is now the mother of five younger cubs, who were born in May.
National Zoo
Since the cubs live out at the institute in Front Royal, the public can't see them just yet, but there are four other cheetahs on display at the Zoo's Cheetah Conservation Station in Cleveland Park.
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