Big Cat House

Keeper Joy here, today I’m going to be sharing some info on my second home: the Big Cat House at Huxley Paleozoo!

Leonidas, one of the Barbary brothers


The Big Cat House is one of the oldest buildings here at Huxley, located just south of the main entrance. It houses all 3 of the extinct felines here at Huxley, this includes our small pride of Smilodon fatalis, our pair of Barbary lions and our American lion cubs.


Each enclosure includes both an outdoor and indoor section which the cats can move between freely during the day, the indoor portions are however off-view from the public. The “House” itself features a nursery (also off-view from the public), educational sections about each feline, and a rest area.


As mentioned above, the Big Cat House features 3 kinds of extinct felines. First are our pride of Smilodon fatalis which is made up of dominant male Half Tooth, adult female Lady and young female Brea. Second is Leonidas and Spartacus, our Barbary lion brothers. Lastly, and the newest members of the house, are Atrox and Sabor, our American lion cubs (who are now being weaned, by the way!) At this time, they still alternate between the nursery and their main enclosure.

Rare Forest Dog Spotted in Vancouver

For only the second time this century, a photograph was taken of the extremely rare North American Forest Dog. A hiker in Vancouver, British Columbia spotted the dog while out for a walk on Christmas day. 

“At first I didn’t even see him. They really blend in, you know?” said Charlie Pelletier. “But I heard a rustling just off to my left and there he was.”

Pelletier said he was initially in disbelief and froze.

“It took me a minute to get my wits about me. It was just such a shock to see a forest dog in the wild,” he said. Once he recovered, he took out his cell phone and snapped a picture.

“I was lucky,” said Pelletier. “It’s the kind of thing you dream about seeing your whole life. It wasn’t until later that it really sunk in what I had seen.”

The last time a forest dog was photographed in the wild was also in the Pacific Northwest, when a couple and their kids spotted one in Olympic National Park in Washington in 2012.

Via Smilodon-Fatalis.

Prehistoric Documentaries

In the mood for a good ol’ prehistoric documentary? Well here’s a list of ones you can watch for free! Cause who doesn’t love free stuff? ;D

Ape To Man 
Animal Armageddon (Full Series)
Part 1
- Part 2
Australia’s First 4 Billion Years 
- Awakening
- Life Explodes 
- Monsters
- Stranger Creatures
Arctic Dinosaurs (NOVA)
Bizarre Dinosaurs
Clash of the Dinosaurs
- Extreme Survivors
- Perfect Predators
- The Defenders 
- Generations 
Dinosaurs Decoded
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia
Dinosaur Planet
- Pod’s Travels (Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6,Part 7,Part 8)
- White Tip’s Journey (Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6,Part 7,Part 8)
Dinosaur Revolution
- Survival Tactics
- End Game
- Dodo
- Great Auk
- Smilodon (fatalis)
Ice Age Death Trap (NOVA)
March of the Dinosaurs
- Part 1,Part 2,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6 
Monsters Resurrected
- Dinosaur King
- Giant Ripper
Monsters We Met
- Eternal Frontier
- The Burning
Planet Dinosaur - Lost World
Prehistoric Assassins - Blood In The Water 
Prehistoric Monsters Revealed
Prehistoric Dallas
Prehistoric Predators
- Dire Wolf
- Giant Bear
- Killer Pig
- Razor Jaws
- Sabretooth
Sea Monsters - A Walking with Dinosaurs Trilogy
- Episode 2
- Episode 3
Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy
The Birth of Humanity
The Dinosaurs (PBS)
- The Monsters Emerge
- Flesh on the Bones
- The Nature of the Beast
- The Death of the Dinosaurs
The Truth About Killer Dinosaurs
- Tyrannosaurus rex (Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5)
- Velociraptor
Walking with Beasts
- New Dawn
- Whale Killer
- Land of Giants
- Next of Kin
- Sabre Tooth
- Mammoth Journey
Walking with Dinosaurs Special
- Land of Giants
- The Giant Claw
Woolly Mammoth - Secrets From The Ice

Playlists (Not full length documentaries)
BBC Walking with Dinosaurs
Dinosaur Planet 

- Admin Leopard

It’s a fanged Fossil Friday! 

Smilodon fatalis lived in North and South America until going extinct about 10,000 years ago. About the size of a modern tiger or lion but bulkier, the cats are famous for their protruding canines, which could grow to be 18 centimeters (about 7 inches) long. Although well-preserved fossils of these cats are available to researchers—including those in the Museum’s own collection—little is known about the absolute ages at which the animals reached key developmental stages. 

New research published this week shows that the fearsome teeth of the saber-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis grew at a rate about double that of their living relatives, but still took years to fully emerge. The study estimates that the eruption rate of S. fatalis’s permanent upper canines was 6 millimeters per month—double the growth rate of an African lion’s teeth. But the extinct cat’s dagger-like canines weren’t fully developed until about three years of age.

“For predators such as big cats, an important determinant of an individual’s full hunting ability is the time required to grow their weapons—their teeth,” said Z. Jack Tseng, a National Science Foundation and Frick Postdoctoral Fellow in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Paleontology and a coauthor on the new paper. “This is especially crucial for understanding sabertoothed predators such as Smilodon.”

Read more about this new study