African Wild Cat

African Wild Cat.


Name

African Wild Cat [Felis silvestris spp. a number of sub-species across Africa]

Introduction

Six thousand years ago Egyptians domesticated the African Wild Cat to control mice and rats raiding granaries. From these tamed animals, the domestic cat was bred. Although it is an agile tree climber, this cat spends most of its time on the ground.

Diet

Preferred prey of the African Wild Cat are mice and rats, but when these are scarce or the opportunity arises, they also feed on birds and arthropods, as well as hares, rabbits and even baby antelopes.

Breeding

Mating occurs between July and January, with a gestation period of 65 days. Young are born between September and March. Average litter size is three.

Behaviour

Since this small member of the cat family has not yet been studied intensively, very little is known about its behaviour. Apart from the difference in ear colouration and the longer legs, this species could easily be mistaken for a domestic cat, to which it is so closely related that interbreeding is possible. This cat is solitary in habits outside the breeding season, and mature animals are more than likely territorial.

Where they are found

Pure genetic stock of the African Wild Cat is today only found in remote areas. Elsewhere interbreeding with domestic cats has taken place.

Vital Statistics

Weight (Female)
2,6 - 5,5 kg
Weight (Male)
3,8 - 6,4 kg
Length (Female)
90 cm
Length (Male)
90 cm
Gestation Period
2 months
No of Young
2 - 5
Order
Carnivora
Family
Felidae

Breeding

2 - 5 young are born anytime of the year after a gestation period of about 2 months.

Spoor Description

The footprints of the African Wild Cat are similar in shape and size to those of the domestic cat.



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