Paula Gilhooley….Southern African Wild Cats

There are six subspecies of wildcat of which three are found in Africa.  The Southern African Wild Cat is the onl
y one that co exists with domestiimg_2130c cats.  The African Wild Cat is much like domestic tabbies with slightly longer legs.  They have a light sandy background color with brown or rufus markings and with stripes or bands on their legs and long tails.  The Chin, chest and throat are off white and the belly is pale cream.  The bottom of the feet are black and the back of the ears are rufus or grey.  Males weigh about 5 kilograms while females weigh about three and a half kilograms.  They hide during the day img_0559in holes in the ground, small caves, rock crevices or holes in trees.

Their  diet consists of small mammals and birds.  Their diet changes with food availability with mice and rats being preferred.  They mate in June through January with a gestation of about 65 days and can have up to three letters a year in captivity but only one in the wild. Once born the mothers carries the kittens to a new hiding place every few days for about 30 days when they are weaned. Their eyes open around day ten and they get permanent teeth at five months.

The cats are active at night and in the early morning and sometimes during the day during cool weather.  They are solitary except when mating and territorial.  Their range is about 6-10 square kilometers.  img_1031

If you stay within the park overnight you have more of a chance of catching a glimpse of one of these wonderful cats roaming around the camp just before dark or shortly after dark looking for bits of food.

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