Common Name: Black Footed Cat

Scientific Name: Felis nigripes

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammialia

Order: Carnivora

Family: Felidae

Genus: Felis

Species: F. nigripes

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Have you ever heard of a cat? How about a black-footed cat? Black-footed cats are found usually in places like South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and marginally into Zimbabwe. Their habitat consists of semi-deserts and savannas. In the day time, they hide in burrows, under rock slabs, and in hollow termite mounds. Black footed cats are very small animals. In fact, they are one of the smallest of the cat species. They are solitary animals and also very active at night. At night is when they do all of their hunting and traveling. Females are an average weight of 2.9 lb. and males are 4.2lb. The shoulder height is 10 inches and their tail length is 5-8 inches long. They are light brown with black spots and of course, their feet are solid black. Females are an average weight of 2.9 lb. and males are 4.2lb. You can identify a black footed cat by its black feet and there body shape. Its head is half the size of its body! Black-footed cats have always been considered rare in the wild.

 

They are considered endangered by the US Endangered Species Act, but are being protected in their native habitats. Without these acts, the black-footed cat would most likely be extinct. With these acts, the populations of these animals are increasing. Because of its size, the black-footed cat mainly hunts small prey. They hunt things like rodents and small birds. It sometimes consumes prey that is bigger than itself! Insects and spiders provide 1% of the prey mass consumed. They stalk their prey hiding in grass at short range and catch it with a short pounce. For their size, they are amazing hunters. They are nocturnal and travel up to 5 miles at night, just in search of food. The black-footed cat is an interesting animal because it is a shy animal, but when it is cornered, it defends itself fiercely. There is a legend that claims that the black-footed cat can kill a giraffe by piercing its jugular vein. This is an exaggeration, but it shows how brave the black-footed cat is. It sometimes uses termite mounds to hid and raise its young. For a small cat, the black-footed cat is an amazing animal.

 

Author: Johnny M.

Published: 02/2009

 

Sources:

 "Black-footed Cat -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 05 Feb. 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-footed_Cat. Chambers, Kevin. Black-footed Cat. 2009. Feline Conservation Federation. 5 Feb. 2009 http://www.felineconservation.org/feline_species/black-footed_cat.htm. "File:Felis nigripes 5.JPG -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 05 Feb. 2009 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Felis_nigripes_5.JPG.

 

Photo Credit: Pierre de Chabannes pour http://www.photozoo.org