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African Wild Cat (Felis Silvestris Lybica)

The African wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica), is a subspecies of the wildcat (F. silvestris). They appear to have diverged from the other subspecies about 131,000 years ago. About 10,000 years ago some African Wildcats were domesticated in the Middle East and they are the ancestors of the domestic cat. The African wildcat is found in Africa and in the Middle East, in a wide range of habitats, like steppes, savannes and bushland.

The African wildcat, also known as the desert cat, is sandy brown to yellow-grey in color, with black stripes on the tail. The fur is shorter than that of the European subspecies (look for the subscription and photos also on this website) and it is also considerably smaller: the head-body length is 45 to 75 cm (17.7 to 29.5 inches), the tail 20 to 38 cm (7.87 to 15 inches), and the weight ranges from 3 to 6.5 kg (6.61 to 14.3 lbs).



The African wildcat eats primarily mice, rats, and other small mammals. He also loves to eat birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. The cat approaches its prey slowly, and attacks by pouncing on its prey as soon as it is within range (about one metre). The African wildcat is mainly active during the night and twilight. When confronted, the African wildcat raises its hair to make itself seem larger and intimidate its opponent. In the daytime it usually hides in the bushes, although it is sometimes active on dark, cloudy days. The territory of a male overlaps with that of a few females, who defend the territory against intruders.




A female African Wildcat gives birth to two to six kittens, with three being average. The African wildcat often rests and gives birth in burrows or hollows in the ground. The gestation lasts between 56 and 69 days. The kittens are born blind and need the full care of the mother. Most kittens are born in the wet season, when there is sufficient food. The kittens stay with their mother for five to six months and are fertile after one year.

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Cat of the month

Borneo Bay Cat (Pardofelis Badia)

One of the world’s least-known and most endangered wild cats, the bay cat, has been photographed by Panthera grantees Jedediah Brodie (Universiti Malaysia Sabah/ University of British Columbia) and Anthony Giordano (S.P.E.C.I.E.S/Texas Tech University). Their photograph is the first record of this very elusive cat in the Borneo highlands, at 1460 meters (approximately 4,800 feet).

The records add to our very limited knowledge of the species, which was photographed alive for the first time only in 1998 and where most previous records are from dense lowland forest under 800 meters (approximately 2,600 feet).

Borneo’s bay cat is so elusive that it took over a century before researchers got a chance to study a live one in detail. Covered in striking, rust-red fur with white under the tail and face stripes, this cat was officially named in 1874 on the basis of a skull and torn skin sent to England by the famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace. Naturalists didn’t have a chance to study a live one until a bay cat was captured in 1992, and the cat remains so difficult to find that researchers know very little about how this secretive cat actually lives. The fact that the cat is so difficult to find is all the more frustrating because conservationists list the felid as endangered. The deforestation of Borneo may wipe out the bay cat before scientists get a chance to find out more about it.