Black-footed Cat

African black-footed cat

Felis nigripes

Quick Facts

African black-footed cat

Found:  South Africa
Size:  1 to 2 feet long
Weight:  3 to 6 pounds
Diet:  small birds, mammals
Life Span:  13 years
Status:  Endangered

The black-footed cat contends with the rusty-spotted cat and the kodkod cat for the smallest species of wild cat.  The soles of their feet are black, hence their name.  They also have black fur on their soles thought to be an adaptation so the bottoms of their feet don't burn on their sandy scrub habitat.  They are nocturnal like most cats and spend their days resting in abandoned termite mounds or burrows and emerge to hunt only after the sun has set.  They are excellent hunters and apparently get all their water from prey, as they have never been observed drinking water in the wild.  They are solitary and secretive and have a well-deserved reputation for ferocity and tenacity (they have been observed stalking an ostrich).  They have also been observed turning to fight potential enemies such as jackals, rather than hiding or fleeing.

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