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Golden Cats - two of the same in different places

 

There are 2 species of golden cats. The Asian and the Africa. For ease, I have combined them both to this one page as they are fairly similar.

 

The AAfrican Golden cat facefrican Golden Cat is a medium sized cat close in size to a Caracal. Although its name implies a golden coloured coat, its base coat coloration varies extensively depending on its location, ranging from a golden/reddish brown to slate/silver grey. The under sides of the chin, chest and abdomen are usually lighter and in some cases almost pure white and in some individuals the head and body is spotted. Their tail is lond and  is marked with dark line along the top and ends in a brown or black tip. The head caries distinctive light markings around the eyes and above the mouth - the small ears are dark coloured on the rear face.

 

The primary habitat of the African species appears to be the tropical rain forest, however penetration into the adjoining tropical dry forests and savannah scrub is also in evidence. To the east of its range in Uganda they have been known to inhabit regions up to10,000 feet and be present as far east as western Kenya. 

 

Very little is known of the lifestyle and biology of them due to its dense rain forest habitat . Most reports suggest that golden cat is a solitary and crepuscular hunter but has been seen hunting in daylight hours in parts of its range. Apart from duika and other small antelope it is thought that the main part of the diet is made up of rodents, tree hyraxes and birds. Small monkeys are also known to be taken by the cat which may suggest that although thought of as mainly terrestrial, they are also active in the lower branches of the forest canopy and can climb well.

 

Not a lot is known of their biology and reproduction, but what is knownhas been gained from captive bred animals, The litter size is small, usually consisting of 1-2 young and are born after a gestation period of approximately 75 days. The kittens are weaned at about 14 weeks and reaches maturity at about 18 months of age.

 

Local tribes hunt the fur and especially the tail of the African golden cat for ceremonial use, and hunting does not provide a major threat to the golden cat. However through a gradual increases in the timber trade, loss of the habitat and subsequent decline in prey species is a threat in many parts of the cats range.

 

Human encroachment and deforestation in West Africa haveAfrican Golden Cat probably led to fragmentation and declines in populations of the African golden cat, unless migration is possible along riverine corridors. The bush meat trade, which is a significant component of the regionís economy, is depleting populations of small antelope prey, which may lead to increased incidence of livestock depredation by the African golden cat and consequent persecution of the cat. There appears to be little hunting of this cat. The fact that the African golden cat does well in secondary forest, combined with its ability to survive on small rodents, suggests that it is in less danger of extinction than many other small cats. 

 


 

The Asian Golden Cat, often referred to as Temminckís Golden Cat is found throughout South East Asia. Although it shares its name and in certain respects much of its coloration and markings with its cousin found in Africa, it is now considered a separate species. The asiain species has more marking on the face.

 

The Asian Golden Cat facecolouration of the Asian species can vary greatly from a reddish golden brown through to grey and melanistics have also been sighted. The markings seem to vary as much as the base coloration. In the south of its range the cat is commonly without markings except for faint spots on its under parts, white line markings running up across its head, along its cheeks and from the corner of its eyes. In common with the Bornean Bay Cat, which some suggest it may be related, it also has a white stripe marking on the underside of the end of its tail. Further north in its range, the cat can be more heavily marked with dark reddish brown spots and stripes.

 

The habitat on the Asian species is generally dense tropical anAsian Golden cat lating in a rock caved sub-tropical forest although in the Himalayas the cat can be found at altitudes up to 10,000 feet. Thought to be generally nocturnal, little is known of their prey species, however for a cat of its size, which can be as much as 40 inches in body length, it is probable that they hunt mainly large rodents, small deer, reptiles, birds and amphibians.

 

The are thought to be under threat in much of its range from deforestation and loss of habitat and this coupled with the pressures of hunting for its pelt has led the cat to be listed in CITES Appendix 1.