Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Black-footed Cat

Felis nigripes
Today's animal may look like a normal house cat, but it is actually a wild animal that you want no where near your sofa! Black-footed Cats are some of the smallest wild cats in the world and are close relatives to our domesticated pets.

As adults, Black-footed Cats rarely weigh in at more than 5lbs. They have spotted bodies, and feet that are black on their toes and pads, hence the name.

The species is hard to come by in the wild. They are not only small, they are solitary and nocturnal as well. The Cats hide out in dense grasses during the daytime hours, and are very skittish when other creatures come near.

As with all cats, the Black-footeds are carnivores. They eat mostly rodents and small birds, and will consume up to 1/6 of their body weight every single night.

Black-footed Cats are considered Vulnerable, due to habitat loss and the use of pesticides that make their way up the food chain. They are one of the lesser studied cat species in the wild, but there are about 700 kept in Zoos worldwide. They have been successfully bred in captivity, though not many times.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : Africa
Size : Length up to 17in (43cm), Weight up to 4.5lbs (2kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : Felis -- Species : F. nigripes
Image : Patrick Apfeld

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