Small to Medium Sized Wild Cats of Africa

 

Sadly these cats are in captivity, a breeding program to assist local parks in building the number of wild cats back into the wild. Photography taken at the Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation Centre.

Personally, I do not enjoy seeing animals being locked up and not roaming totally free, we do not have the luxury of seeing all the animals in the wild cats, this was a once off even for me.

Baby Caracal and MommyBaby Caracal and Mommy

Caracal : The Caracal is a mostly nocturnal, secretive, solitary and an aggressive animal. Due to being hunted as a problem animal by farmers, Caracal became even more elusive and thus a sighting of one is very difficult.

The caracal is also commonly known as the Persian Lynx or African Lynx despite the fact that the caracal is not a lynx at all. The caracal is thought to be most closely related to the African golden cat and the serval.

The caracals name is believed to come from the Turkish word Karakulak, which means black ears. The caracal typically has 20 different muscles in the caracals ears which enables the caracal to detect prey.

Cheetah : The cheetah is a large feline inhabiting most of Africa and parts of the Middle East. It is the only extant member of the genus Acinonyx.

Serval Cat : The ears are black on the back with a distinctive white spot, and the tail has 6 or 7 black rings and a black tip.

The coat color is pale yellow with black markings, either of large spots that tend to merge into longitudinal stripes on the neck and back, or of numerous small spots, which give a speckled appearance.

These “speckled” Servals from west Africa – called servalines – used to be considered a separate species Felis brachyura, until it was demonstrated that the speckled pattern was just a variation or “morph”.

African Wild Cat : The African wild cat looks a lot like a domestic cat, except it has longer legs, reddish ears, and it sits more upright than domestic counterpart. The similarities are not entirely coincidental, as domestic cats originated from wild cats.

They were first domesticated 5000 years ago in Egypt. The people of the time were agriculturalists and stored the grain that they harvested annually in baskets.

These abundant stores naturally attracted mice, which in turn attracted the local wild cats. Because of the favour the cats provided humans by controlling the grain pests, they were encouraged to stay treats of fish that were left out for them.

With a constant supply of food, no harassment from people, and no natural enemies to threaten them around human habitations, the wild cats quickly habituated.

Gradual genetic mutation resulted in the approximately 100 domestic breeds we find today. Sadly the true form of African wild cat is being lost through hybridisation with domestic cats in many areas.

First Published on Steemit

 

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