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Black Footed Cat - Africans tiny but mighty

 

Of alBlack Footed Catl the various species of wild cats in the world, the black-footed cat is by far the smallest. The male's weight is just 2 to 4 pounds, and the female weighs even less. Their body length is approximately 10 to 24 inches and shoulder height is around 9 inches. The head of the Black Footed Cat is broad and has a black line that runs from the corner of each eye and across the cheeks. It has a coat of red brown to a sandy brown has has black spots over its entire body, sometimes turning into stripes. The pads of the paws are black as are those of the African wild Cat. There are horizontal stripes on the legs and the tail is ringed. With living in an arid habitats, Its is believed that the Black Footed Cat can live without water by obtaining it water source from its prey. Similar to that of the African Sand Cat.

 

The black footed cat can only be found in Botswana, South Angola, Namibia, South Africa and live in uninhabited burrows. Usually hidden by large rocks or boulders. It is not uncommon for them to seek larger prey animals and save them for future meals. A Black-footed Cat will also scavenge on the meat of carrion.

Hunting is mostly at night, and their diet consists of small mammals, squirrels, mice, as well as other small rodents. Spiders and reptiles also make up a small portion of their diet. Birds can be captured by Black-footed cats, by jumping into the air and grabbing the bird as it takes flight. This hunting technique requires a very acute sense of timing. These cats were once observed catching larks in this manner.

 

The black footed cat has a gestation of approximately 65 days with one to four kittens being born. The kittens maturity is obtained around 20 months of age. Males have been known to emit a high roar sound when threatened.

 

Some methods of predator control might be a great threat, butBlack Footed Cat face farmers don't normally report if a Black Footed Cat is captured during surveys about problem animals. The African Wild Cat are the farmers main predator of the smaller livestock in South Africa and Namibia. They put out steel jaw traps and bait that is poisoned to get rid of the wildcat. The black-footed cat may also get caught in these traps, therefore causing a threat. The jackal is also baited with poison carcasses the they could scavenge. The Black-footed cat also eat locust, which are also poisoned. Last, but certainly not least, prey species are being depleted by livestock overgrazing  and deteriorating habitats throughout their range.