These puppies may look cute and cuddly, but the African painted dogs are some of the continent’s deadliest predators.
The seven pups are finally peeking out of their den after being born in November at the Chester Zoo.
“Watching the pack explore and play together is wonderful,” said Tim Rowlands, the curator of animals at the facility. “They’ve most certainly come out to play.”
The rare pups were born to new mom and alpha female K’mana, but the entire pack will share caretaker duties.
The species, also known as African Wild Dogs, get their name from their irregularly patterned fur that causes the pack to look much larger as they hunt.
The carnivorous species are also known as supreme predators that work together to bring down large prey.
The African painted dogs are also some of the most endangered species in the world due to habitat loss, and zookeepers explained the births in captivity is a great contribution to increasing its numbers.
“We hope the pups will help us bring some much needed attention to the species, which is under huge pressure in the wild,” Rowlands said in a statement.
Officials estimate there may be less than 1,500 African painted dogs that are able to breed in the wild.