(The Triangle Trend) — The North Carolina Zoo has a new arrival—an adorable sand cat kitten born just last month. As if a kitten by itself was not cute enough, the NC Zoo also announced last week that they are holding a contest to choose a name for the new kitten. Contest hopefuls can enter from now up until October 21 by submitting their name and contact information online on the contest entry form. The winner will be randomly selected and will get the final pick of the NC Zoo’s five name choices: Nadira, Saja, Layla, Yara, and Cairo. In addition, the winner will also receive a sand cat plush, a one-year family membership to the NC Zoo, and a tour of the Desert habitat good for up to 6 people.
Sand cats can be found in the deserts of North Africa and in the Arabian Peninsula where they are known for hunting venomous snakes despite their small size. They are a solitary species which makes them difficult to spot and to study in the wild. According to the NC Zoo, only six zoo facilities affiliated with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums have a breeding pair of sand cats, and getting to see a new sand cat kitten born is very rare. On top of that, the NC Zoo’s Desert habitat is currently closed to the public because of pandemic restrictions, so winning the private tour of the Desert habitat will be quite the prize this year!