The small spotted cat got its former name (black footed cat) from the black soles of its… The big cats in South Africa receive a lot of attention. Weighing up to 4.5 kg, they stand around 0.25 meters tall at the shoulder with a body length of around 0.55 meters plus a 0.3 meter tail. All Rights Reserved. Small spotted cats are endemic to southern Africa but found mainly in South Africa, Namibia and some in Zimbabwe. During the day it hides out in the burrows of springhares, beneath slabs of rock or in hollow termite mounds (they are sometimes called anthill tigers). African Wildcat Felis lybica – steppe and bush cats of Africa and Asia Considered to have three subspecies: Felis lybica lybica – Eastern, western and north Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Middle East, Corsica, Sardinia, Crete Felis lybica cafra – Southern Africa It is also a scavenger. The seasonal feeding habits of the African wildcat, Felis silvestris cafra, in the riverbed ecotone of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park were investigated over a period of 46 months. Image ©, Pitch-black wild cat in South Africa's Kruger Park may be a bad omen for its species, SANParks – Kruger National Park Facebook group, The why, what and where of the world's black leopards, Watch: Rare black leopard spotted hiding out in South Africa, Back in black: Another melanistic serval spotted in East Africa, Rhino Fortress: Shadowing an anti-poaching dog unit in South Africa, African civet evades two leopards by lying low in a muddy pool (video), Watch: Bear on the trail sends cyclist diving into the bushes, In photos: Mysterious red-fanged spider found in Australia. It is found in most parts of Africa and around the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula to the Caspian Sea. “Also, feral cats form social colonies, thus you have an area with a lot of feral cats and the impact of their roaming and feeding behaviour is huge on local indigenous fauna (birds, rodents, insects, amphibians, reptiles).”. A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. And amidst all the noise, voices get lost and some stories are never heard. Also contact the Black-footed Cat Working Group. Not much larger than an average housecat but with a lankier build, the animal’s jet-black colour was unlike that of any cat species known to roam the Kruger wilds. For our growing team of writers and contributors, those are the stories that matter most: we dedicate our time to them all day and every day. However, the Kruger National Park – a vast strip of protected land visited by almost two million tourists each year and bordered on all sides by human development – remains a concern for the conservation of African wild cats. others were more hesitant, drawing attention to the fact that its unique colouration could be the result of inbreeding with domestic cats. Not only do they hunt nocturnally, but they are particularly antisocial and will run away at the first hint of disturbance. The African wildcat is native to Africa, the Middle East and parts of Southern Asia and China, and thought to be the ancestor of our domestic cats, first domesticated in Egypt around 10,00 years ago. Its ears too are very large and oval and it is covered in black spots of varying size and shape. In 2007, it was tentatively recognised as a distinct subspecies on the basis of genetic analysis. This genetic journey is not replicated by any wild cat species suggesting that the “mutation that gave rise to melanism in housecats probably arose recently, since (or during) domestication.”, “It seems more likely this is a hybrid,” says Hunter. The African wildcat occurs in wide parts of Africa and around the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula to the Caspian Sea. In August this year, artist Peter Hall was enjoying an early morning game drive through the mopane-peppered grasslands that dominate the central regions of South Africa’s Kruger National Park when something caught his eye. Interbreeding with domestic cats has resulted in fewer numbers of the pure strain of African wild cat. They are also poor climbers and their stocky legs and short tails are one of the reasons they tend to avoid climbing trees. In Afrikaans (South Africa) vaalboskat means 'grey bush cat'. It's the number one question for any traveller: where to safari in South Africa? The IUCN Red List status Least Concern is attributed to the species Felis silvestris, which at the time of assessment also included the African wildcat as a subspecies. African wild cats are small adaptable carnivores that range across much of Africa aside from lowland tropical rainforests and true desert habitats. They hope to reduce cross-breeding with African wild cats and black-footed cats while also minimising the risk of disease transmission. For the superstitious among us, a black cat is usually a bad omen, but for photographer Alison Mees spotting a sooty feline was a stroke of good... An oddly coloured cat strolling through a grassland in the Kruger Park. In fairness lions, leopards and cheetah deserve the focus; most of these top predators are in danger – we live in their space, we hunt them illegally and kill them when they prey on livestock. 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