Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes)
Black-footed Cat (Felis nigripes) in the zoo of Wuppertal.
Photograph by Pierre de Chabannes. Some rights reserved.
The Black-footed cat is one of the smallest species of wild cats and similar in shape to the domestic cat. The fur is brownish with a pattern of round black or dark brown spots. It has a large head relative to the body. It has two black stripes across each cheek with pale area between the stripes. There are two black stripes on the forelegs, and up to five on the back legs. The soles of the feet have black fur to protect them from the hot sand. The tail is about half the length of the head and body.
Length: males 42cm - 50cm; females 34cm - 37cm.
The Black-footed Cat is found in the dry country of South Africa.
Feeds on small prey such as rodents, birds, spiders, insects. They catch their prey by stalking and pouncing on it. They sometimes scavenge on larger dead mammals.
The female gives birth to one to three kittens (average two) after a gestation period of about 68 days. The young are born in a burrow, crevice or under dense cover. Weaning starts after about 5 weeks and young are weaned by about 7 weeks.
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.
The conservation status in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals is "vulnerable".