Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rusty-spotted Cat

Prionailurus rubiginosus
The Rusty-spotted Cat is one of the smallest cat species in the world, and as adults they weigh only a tiny 3.5lbs. For a comparison, that makes them less than half the size of a normal domestic cat!

You'll find these mini-felines in India and Sri Lanka, though good luck spotting one in the wild. They are incredibly secretive and difficult to locate due to their camouflaged fur and small size. It also doesn't help that they have a generally small population size-- it is estimated that less than 10,000 adults remain.

Rusty-spotted Cats are nocturnal and partially arboreal. They often sleep in trees, and flee up into them to escape their own predators, but they do most of their hunting on the ground. Rodents, birds, and small reptiles make up their diet.

Deforestation and the spread of agriculture has hurt this population immensely. They are listed as Vulnerable, are protected throughout most of their range, and are listed in CITES I (in India) and CITES II (in Sri Lanka). However, the population is still on the decline. They are kept in a handful of zoos, but are not common in captivity.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : India, Sri Lanka
Size : Length up to 19in (48cm), Weight up to 3.5lbs (1.6kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class: Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : Prionailurus -- Species : P. rubiginosus

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