Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

These tiny predators use their camouflage, small body size, and the cover of darkness to conceal themselves from their prey and predators, and therefore are rarely seen by humans. They are strictly nocturnal, and so hunt only at night, returning to unoccupied springhare, aardvark or porcupine burrows, or abandoned termite mounds during the day (hence its other name 'anthill tiger') (2). The territory of the male is much larger than those of females, and overlaps with up to four female's ranges (8). Their territory is marked with scent, by urine spraying and scent rubbing (2). Female territories also frequently overlap with those of other females, but they always hunt solitary (8). In a night, they can travel up to 16 km searching for food. The black-footed cat is an opportunistic hunter, feeding on 54 different prey species (9). This includes small mammals, mainly gerbils, mice and shrews; birds, insects and reptiles (9). They are even capable of killing and consuming prey up to twice their own weight, such as Cape hares and black bustards, and they will also occasionally scavenge (9). Mating season is in between July and March, and kittens are typically born in November after a two month gestation period (7). A litter of one or two young are reared in burrows or termite mounds (2) (4). These secretive hunters can live for up to 13 years in captivity (4) (7).
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Description

This secretive and rare cat is among the smallest of the world's cats, and is the smallest wild cat in Africa (2). The coat of the black-footed cat varies from cinnamon buff to tawny, and is patterned with black or brown oblong spots, offering effective camouflage (2) (4). These spots merge into bars extending over the shoulders, legs and short tail (2). The broad skull has prominent rounded ears, and very large eyes that possess a mirror-like layer behind the retina, the tapetum lucidum, which reflects light at night with an intense blue sheen (2) (5). The name of this cat comes from the black soles of the cat's feet (4). There are two disputed subspecies; Felis nigripes nigripes and the darker and larger Felis nigripes thomasi (6).
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MammalMAP: the black footed cat

The black footed cat or Felis nigripes is one of the world’s smallest cats.  These cats get their name from the colour of the underparts of their paws – which is black.  The colour of its fur varies from cinnamon-buff to tawny with black or brown spots that merges to form rings on its legs, neck, and tail.

The females weigh on average 1.3 kgs while its male counterpart weighs in at 1.9 kgs.  Wow, that’s small!  It would take three black footed cats to weigh the same as an average African wildcat.

These kitties are opportunistic feeders – chowing on a variety of 40 vertebrate species.  Quite adept at killing prey bigger than they are, these cats are capable of jumping up 1.4 m high to catch birds in flight.  Their hunting success is quite impressive – they can catch one vertebrate every 50 minutes.

Black footed cats are generally anti-social.  Females and males only associate for mating – which is only 5 – 10 hours.  Females give birth to a litter of two kittens in an underground.    The kittens are born blind but quickly develop motor skills and venture out the den at three weeks. At this age, the mother will often bring back live prey for the kittens to practice on.  By six weeks, the kittens are capable of killing their own prey.  Even after they are independent, the kittens may stay within their mother’s territory.

So where do we find these fabled felines?  These cats are endemic to southern Africa.  They primarily inhabit the dry, open savannahs, grasslands and Karoo semi deserts of South Africa and Namibia.  These animals are threatened by habitat fragmentation as the result of grazing, agriculture and the use of poisons as a means of pest control.

For more information on MammalMAP, visit the MammalMAP virtual museum or blog.

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Distribution

Black-footed cats are found in the savannas and grasslands of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, as well as small parts of Angola, Zimbabwe, and possible Lesotho.

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Range Description

The black-footed cat is endemic to southern Africa. The species is found primarily in Namibia and South Africa, but also Botswana (where there are historical records but no recent ones), and marginally in Zimbabwe and likely marginally in extreme southern Angola (Sliwa 2008, B. Wilson and A. Sliwa pers. comm. 2007).
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Historic Range:
Southern Africa

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Range

Occurs only in Africa. F.n. nigripes is found in Botswana, Namibia and northern South Africa, and F.n. thomasi occurs in south eastern South Africa (2) (7).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Black-footed cats are the smallest of African Felis species. The body is covered with light brown hair with black to dark brown spots covering the back, sides, and stomach. Dark brown stripes similar to the spots appear on the cheeks, front legs, haunches, and tail. In addition, the tip of the tail is solid black (about twice the thickness as the stripes around the tail). The tail averages 150 to 200 mm, about half the body length. The bottom of the feet, which are often visible due to their digitigrade style of walking, are black, giving this species its common name. Males are slightly larger than females, averaging 1.93 kg, compared to 1.3 kg for females.

Range mass: 1 to 2.75 kg.

Range length: 337 to 500 mm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

  • Molteno, A., A. Silwa, P. Richardson. 1998. The role of scent marking in free-ranging, female Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes). Journal of Zoology, 245: 35-41.
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Ecology

Habitat

Black-footed cats inhabit dry grasslands, savannas, and deserts of southern Africa. The terrain they inhabit averages 100 to 500 mm of rainfall each year. They create dens in burrows or abandoned termite mounds and also shelter temporarily in dense thickets.

Range elevation: 0 to 2000 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; savanna or grassland ; scrub forest

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The black-footed cat is a specialist of open, short grass areas with an abundance of small rodents and ground-roosting birds. It inhabits dry, open savanna, grasslands and Karoo semi-desert with sparse shrub and tree cover and a mean annual rainfall of between 100 and 500 mm at altitudes of 0-2,000 m. It is not found in the driest and sandiest parts of the Namib and Kalahari Deserts (Sliwa 2008).

During a 6-year field study on the game farm in central South Africa, 1725 prey items were observed consumed by 17 free-ranging habituated black-footed cats. Average prey size was 24.1 g. Eight males fed on significantly larger prey (27.9 g) than 9 females (20.8 g). Fifty-four prey species were classified by their average mass into 8 different size classes, 3 for mammals, 3 for birds, 1 for amphibians/reptiles, and 1 for invertebrates. Small mammals (5-40 g) constituted the most important prey class (39%) of total prey biomass followed by larger mammals (> 100 g; 17%) and small birds ( 100 g) were mainly consumed. Small rodents like the large-eared mouse (Malacothrix typica), captured 595 times by both sexes, were particularly important during the reproductive season for females with kittens. Male black-footed cats showed less variation between prey size classes consumed among climatic seasons. This sex-specific difference in prey size consumption may help to reduce intra-specific competition (Sliwa 2006). In terms of interspecific competition, Sliwa et al. (2007) found that black-footed cats captured smaller prey on average than African wildcats, although both captured approximately the same number (12-13) of prey species per night.

Black-footed cats are solitary, except for females with dependent kittens, and during mating. Males have larger annual home ranges (20.7 km²; n=5) than females (10.0 km², n=7) (Sliwa 2004). Adults travel an average of 8.42+/- 2.09 km per night - more distance than the African wildcat (5.1 +/- 3.35 km per night) depite their smaller size, although some wildcats travelled very far (17.37 per km longest distance, as opposed to the black-footed at's 14.61 km) (Sliwa et al. 2007).

Male ranges overlap those of 1-4 females. Intra-sexual overlap varies from 12.9% for three males to 40.4% for five females. Home-range size is likely to vary between regions according to resources available to the individuals (Sliwa 2004). Kittens are independent after 3-4 months, but remain within the range of their mother for extended periods (Sliwa 2008).

The black-footed cat is one of the world's smallest cats, with females weighing an average of 1.3 kg and males larger at 1.93 kg (Sliwa 2008). The conspecific and more common African wildcat is considerably larger (females - 3.9 kg; males - 5.1 kg) (Sliwa et al. 2007).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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The black-footed cat inhabits steppe and savannah habitats, such as the Kalahari and Karoo deserts. It requires sparse shrub and tree cover in which to hunt, and burrows or hollowed-out termite mounds in which to spend their day (2) (4) (5)
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Trophic Strategy

Black-footed cats eat a wide variety of small animals, 98% of which are mammals and birds, mammals making up 72% and birds 26% of the diet. Animals weighing less than 40 g made up more than half of their prey base. Larger animals were mainly caught during winter, when smaller prey was unavailable. These larger animals may be cached for later use. The remaining 2% of prey items are made up of small amphibians, reptiles, and invertebrates.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)

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Associations

Black-footed cats are dominant predators of small mammals and birds in areas they inhabit.

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Little is known about predation on this species. Unlike many felids, human predation on these cats is relatively rare. Their nocturnal habits, secretive behavior, and spotted coats make it difficult to observe them.

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Because they are solitary, black-footed cats mostly communicate via scent marking, mainly urine-spraying. Urine-spraying has two main uses; both as advertisement for females to males pre-mating and for territory delineation. Mother and their young communicate vocally. Females scent mark most during times when they are sexually receptive, so it is thought to be mainly to attract male mates.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Little is known about life expectancy in black-Footed cats, but they are thought to live up to 13 years, up to 15.6 years in captivity.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
13 (high) years.

Range lifespan

Status: captivity:
15.6 (high) years.

Average lifespan

Status: wild:
12.0 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 15.6 years (captivity)
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Reproduction

Black-footed cats are likely polygynous, as male territories overlap with up to 5 female ranges, while female ranges usually only overlap with one male home range. Prior to mating, female urine-spraying increases to advertise her readiness to the local male. Breeding is the only time that black-footed cats are found associating with each other, except for females and their kittens. Males and females only associate for 5 to 10 hours for mating.

Mating System: polygynous

Black-footed cats mate in the fall, in August and September, giving birth to young in November to December in an underground den. Females may have multiple litters in a year and young have been recorded in dens as late as February. Females average 1 to 3 offspring in each litter (1 to 2 is more typical). Gestation takes 59 to 68 days and females give birth to young from 60 to 88 grams in weight. Young begin to venture out of their den at 3 weeks old and are fully weaned at about 6 weeks old, when they can begin to catch their own prey. Females become mature at 14 to 21 months old.

Breeding interval: Black-footed cats can breed up to 4 times yearly, although fewer litters are more common.

Breeding season: Black-footed cats can breed from the spring to the fall. Mating is most common in the spring.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 3.

Average number of offspring: 1.71.

Range gestation period: 59 to 68 days.

Average gestation period: 66 days.

Range weaning age: 30 to 35 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 14 to 21 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 14.8 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 14.5 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

Average birth mass: 72.4 g.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)

Sex: male:
434 days.

Female black-footed cats provide all post-copulation investment in offspring. Throughout gestation and lactation, females invest heavily in their young.  Starting at about 3 weeks old, females begin to bring back live prey for their offspring to practice catching prey with. During this time females bring back as much as 50% of their catches in a night. Young may inherit territory from their mother.

Parental Investment: precocial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); inherits maternal/paternal territory

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Silwa, A. 1999. Stalking the Black-Footed Cat. International Wildlife, Vol. 29 Issue 3: 38-43.
  • Silwa, A. 2004. Home range size and social organization of Black-Footed Cats. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, Vol. 69 Issue 2: 96-107.
  • Molteno, A., A. Silwa, P. Richardson. 1998. The role of scent marking in free-ranging, female Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes). Journal of Zoology, 245: 35-41.
  • de Magalhaes, J., J. Costa. 2009. A database of vertebrate longevity records and their relation to other life-history traits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22 (8): 1770-1774.
  • IUCN Cat Specialist Group, 1996. "Felis nigripes" (On-line). IUCN Cat Specialist Group. Accessed September 15, 2009 at http://www.catsg.org/catsgportal/cat-website/catfolk/nigripe1.htm.
  • Silwa, A. 2008. "The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species" (On-line). Felis nigripes. Accessed August 07, 2009 at http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/8542/0.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Felis nigripes

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Black-footed cat populations are decreasing due to habitat degradation, threats from hunters, and poisonous baits set for other predators. It is illegal to hunt black-footed cats in Botswana and South Africa. Their range includes several national parks and other wilderness areas, including Addo Elephant National Park, Karoo National Park, Makgadikgadi Pans, and Mountain Zebra National Park. Black-footed cats seem to be more rare than other small, African felids and populations seem to be fragmented. There is little known about their natural history.

US Federal List: endangered

CITES: appendix i

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Sliwa, A.

Reviewer/s
Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Hoffmann, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
There are few historical or recent records from which to judge, but the black-footed cat appears to have a relatively restricted and patchy distribution, and its total effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to loss of prey base and persecution, and no subpopulation containing more than 1,000 mature individuals (A. Sliwa pers. comm. 2007).

History
  • 2002
    Vulnerable
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 06/14/1976
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Felis nigripes , see its USFWS Species Profile

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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2006 (1) and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The black-footed cat is rare compared to the other small cats of southern Africa (Sliwa 2008). There has been only one field study of the black-footed cat, on a game farm in central South Africa, with the research period spanning more than a decade (Sliwa et al. 2007), and over 17,000 fixes and 1,600 hours of observation of radio-collared and habituated cats. In his 60 km² study area, Sliwa (2004) found the density of adult cats to be 0.17 per km². In low-quality habitat densities are possibly very much lower (Sliwa 2008).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Black-footed cats are threatened primarily by habitat degradation by grazing and agriculture, as well as by poison and other indiscriminate methods of pest control (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Sliwa 2008).
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The black-footed cat is rarely seen, due to the species' rarity, and its shy and secretive nature (7). As a very small cat, it poses no threat to livestock and therefore is not persecuted by farmers (2). The most significant threat comes from poisons and traps set for other animals. The African wildcat is targeted by farmers, and the black-footed cat could easily fall prey to the steel-jaw traps and poisoned bait. Similarly, the poisoning of carcasses, to control jackals, and locusts, could kill black-footed cats which feed on them (4). Habitat degradation, caused by overgrazing from cattle throughout the range of the black-footed cat, can impact the cat by reducing the numbers of small vertebrates on which it feeds (4).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Included on CITES Appendix I and protected by national legislation across most of its range (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Hunting of this species is banned in Botswana and South Africa.

Recommended conservation measures include more fine scale distributional studies particularly in Namibia and Botwana, as well as a second ecological study in a different habitat than Sliwa (2004), preferably in areas of lower rainfall more typical of the current predicted range (A. Sliwa pers. comm. 2007).

The species is recorded from several protected areas, including Karoo National Park, Mountain Zebra National Park, and Addo Elephant National Park in South Africa, and Makgadikgadi Pans (Botswana). To date, there are no confirmed records for the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana/South Africa) or Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana) (A. Sliwa pers. comm. 2007).
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Conservation

The black-footed cat is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and therefore international trade in this species is prohibited (2). Hunting of this species is also prohibited in Botswana and South Africa (4). The black-footed cat is also bred at a number of zoos worldwide (6)
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

There are no adverse effects of black-footed cats on humans, although they may bite in self-defense, such as when harassed. Their prey are small and do not include human livestock.

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Black-footed cats are important predators of small rodents, which can be crop or household pests or carry diseases.

Positive Impacts: controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Black-footed cat

The black-footed cat, also called small-spotted cat (Felis nigripes), is the smallest African cat, and is endemic in the southwest arid zone of the southern African subregion. It is one of the lesser-studied African carnivores, and is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN since 2002.[2][3]

Characteristics[edit]

Close-up of a black-footed cat at the Wuppertal Zoo

The black-footed cat is one of the smallest cat species. Adult resident males weigh on average 1.9 kg (4.2 lb) and a maximum of 2.45 kg (5.4 lb). Adult resident females weigh on average 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) and a maximum of 1.65 kg (3.6 lb).[3] Males reach a head-to-body length of 36.7 to 43.3 cm (14.4 to 17.0 in) with tails 16.4 to 19.8 cm (6.5 to 7.8 in) long. Females are smaller with a maximum head-to-body-length of 36.9 cm (14.5 in) and taills 12.6 to 17.0 cm (5.0 to 6.7 in) long.[4] The shoulder height is about 25 centimetres (9.8 in).[5]

Only the pads and underparts of its feet are black, which gives the black-footed cat its name.[6] The fur varies in colour from cinnamon-buff to tawny, and is patterned with black or brown spots that merge to form rings on the legs, neck, and tail. The skin, however, is unpigmented pink, unlike that of other spotted cats. The backs of the rounded ears are the same color as the background coat color. The eyes are very large.[7]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The black-footed cat is endemic to southern Africa, and primarily found in South Africa, Namibia, marginally into Zimbabwe and likely in extreme southern Angola. There are only historical but no recent records in Botswana. It lives in dry, open savanna, grassland and Karoo semi-desert with shrub and tree cover at altitudes of up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft), but not in the driest and sandiest parts of the Namib and Kalahari Deserts.[2]

Distribution of subspecies[edit]

Two subspecies with different ranges are recognized:[1]

  • F. n. nigripesBotswana, Namibia, and in the northern parts of South Africa;
  • F. n. thomasi — southeastern South Africa

According to Shortridge's description, F. n. nigripes is smaller and paler than F. n. thomasi. But since specimens with characteristics of both assumed subspecies are found close to Kimberley in central South Africa, the existence of subspecies is questioned, as there are no geographical or ecological barriers to their ranges.[8]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Adult black-footed cat resting

Black-footed cats are solitary and strictly nocturnal, thus rarely seen. They spend the day resting in dense cover, in unoccupied burrows of springhares, porcupines and aardvarks, or in hollow termite mounds. They emerge to hunt after sunset.[8]

They are typically found in dry, open habitat with some degree of vegetation cover. Apparently, they get all the moisture they need from their prey, but will drink water when available.[4]

Unlike most other cats, black-footed cats are poor climbers, and will generally ignore tree branches. Their stocky bodies and short tails are not conducive to tree-climbing.[9] They dig vigorously in the sand to extend or modify burrows for shelter.[7]

Black-footed cats are highly unsociable animals that seek refuge at the slightest disturbance. When cornered, they are known to defend themselves fiercely. Due to this habit and their courage, they are called miershooptier (anthill tiger in Afrikaans) in parts of the South African Karoo, although they rarely use termite mounds for cover or for bearing their young. A San legend claims that a black-footed cat can kill a giraffe by piercing its jugular. This exaggeration is intended to emphasize the bravery and tenacity of the animal.[10]

Within one year, a female covers an average range of 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi), a resident male 22 km2 (8.5 sq mi). The range of an adult male overlaps the ranges of one to four females.[3] On average, the animal travels 8 km (5.0 mi) per night in search of prey. The cats use scent marking throughout their ranges, with males spraying urine up to 12 times an hour. Other forms of scent marking include rubbing objects, raking with claws, and depositing faeces in visible locations. Their calls are louder than those of other cats of their size, presumably to allow them to call over relatively large distances. However, when close to each other, they use quieter purrs or gurgles, or hiss and growl if threatened.[7]

Diet and hunting[edit]

Due to their small size, black-footed cats hunt mainly small prey species, such as rodents and small birds, but may also take the white-quilled bustard and the Cape hare, the latter heavier than itself. Insects and spiders provide less than 1% of the prey mass consumed.[11][12] They are unusually active hunters, killing up to 14 small animals in a night. Their energy requirements are very high, with about 250 g (9 oz) of prey per night consumed, which is about a sixth of its average body weight.[7]

Black-footed cats hunt mainly by stalking, rather than ambush, using the cover of darkness and all available traces of cover to approach their prey before the final pounce. They have been observed to hunt by moving swiftly to flush prey from cover, but also to slowly stalk through tufts of vegetation. Less commonly, they will wait outside rodent burrows, often with their eyes closed, but remaining alert for the slightest sound.[8] In common with the big cats, but unlike most other small species, black-footed cats have been observed to hide some of their captured prey for later feeding, rather than consuming it immediately.[11]

Reproduction and life cycle[edit]

Black-footed cats have lived for 10 years in captivity. Females reach sexual maturity after 8 to 12 months. They come into estrus for only one or two days at a time, and are receptive to mating for a few hours, requiring males to locate them quickly. Copulation occurs frequently during this period. Gestation lasts from 63 to 68 days. A litter consists usually of two kittens, but may vary from one to four young. Kittens weigh 60 to 84 g (2.1 to 3.0 oz) at birth. They are born blind and relatively helpless, although they are able to crawl about after just a few hours. They are able to walk within two weeks, begin taking solid food after about a month, and are fully weaned by two months of age.[13]

Females may have up to two litters during the spring, summer and autumn. They rear their kittens in a burrow, moving them to new locations regularly after the first week. In general, kittens develop more rapidly than other similarly sized cats, quickly adapting them to a relatively hostile environment. They become independent by five months of age, but may remain within their mother's range.[7]

Conservation[edit]

Felis nigripes is included on CITES Appendix I and protected by national legislation across most of its range. Hunting is banned in Botswana and South Africa.[2]

In situ research[edit]

The Black-footed Cat Working Group carries out a research project at Benfontein Nature Reserve and Nuwejaarsfontein Farm in central South Africa, where seven black-footed cats have been radio-collared. This project is part of a multidisciplinary effort to study the distribution, ecology, health, and reproduction of black-footed cats over an extended period.[14] In November 2012, this project was extended to Biesiesfontein Farm located in the Northern Cape Province.[15]

In captivity[edit]

Wuppertal Zoo acquired black-footed cats as long ago as 1957, and succeeded in breeding them in 1963. In 1993, the European Endangered Species Programme was formed to coordinate which animals are best suited for pairing to maintain genetic diversity and to avoid inbreeding. The International Studbook for the black-footed cat is kept in the German Wuppertal Zoo.[16] As of July 2011, there are detailed records for a total of 726 captive cats since 1964; worldwide 74 individuals were kept in 23 institutions in Germany, United Arab Emirates, USA, UK, and South Africa.[17]

In February 2011, a female kept at the Audubon Nature Institute gave birth to two male kittens. This birth was significant in that the kittens are the first of their species to be born as a result of in vitro fertilization using frozen and thawed sperm and frozen and thawed embryos. In 2003, the sperm was collected from a male and then frozen. At the Audubon Nature Institute, it was later combined with an egg from a female, creating embryos in March 2005. Those embryos were frozen for almost six years before being thawed and transferred to a surrogate female in December 2010, which carried the embryos to term, resulting in the birth of the two kittens. Scientists hope this will provide a means to increase the species numbers, as well as introduce greater genetic variation into the small population.[18]

In April 2011, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo reported the births of black-footed cats.[19]

In June 2011, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo reported recent births of black-footed cats.[20]

On 6 February 2012, a female black-footed cat kitten, Crystal, was born to a domestic cat surrogate after interspecies embryo transfer.[21]

In March 2012, the Brookfield Zoo reported the birth of a black-footed cat.[22]

In April 2014, a litter of three black-footed cats was born at the Philadelphia Zoo.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 536. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b c d Sliwa, A. (2008). "Felis nigripes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  3. ^ a b c Sliwa, A. (2004). Home range size and social organization of black-footed cats (Felis nigripes). Mammalian Biology 69 (2): 96–107.
  4. ^ a b Smithers, R.H.N. (1983) The mammals of the southern African subregion. University of Pretoria
  5. ^ Stuart, C.T., Wilson, V.J. (1988) The cats of southern Africa. Chipangali Wildlife Trust, Bulawayo.
  6. ^ Pollard, Michael (2003). The encyclopedia of the cat. Barnes and Noble Books. p. 369. ISBN 978-0-7607-3459-9. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Sunquist, M., Sunquist, F. (2002). Wild cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 76–82. ISBN 0-226-77999-8. 
  8. ^ a b c Olbricht, G., Sliwa, A. (1997) In situ and ex situ observations and management of Black-footed cats Felis nigripes. International Zoo Yearbook 35: 81–89
  9. ^ Armstrong, J. (1977). The development and hand-rearing of black-footed cats. Pages 71–80 in: Eaton, R. L. The World's cats; the proceedings of an International Symposium. Volume 3 number 3. Winston Wildlife Safari, Oregon
  10. ^ Sliwa, A. (2006). Atomic Kitten BBC Wildlife (November 2006): 36–40
  11. ^ a b Sliwa, A. (1994). "Black-footed cat studies in South Africa". Cat News 20: 15–19. 
  12. ^ Sliwa, A. (2006). "Seasonal and sex-specific prey composition of black-footed cats Felis nigripes". Acta Theriologica 51 (2): 195–204. doi:10.1007/BF03192671. 
  13. ^ Leyhausen, P., Tonkin, B. (1966). Breeding the black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) in captivity. International Zoo Yearbook 6: 178–182
  14. ^ Sliwa, A., Wilson, B., Lawrenz, A. (2010). Report on surveying and catching Black-footed cats (Felis nigripes) on Nuwejaarsfontein Farm / Benfontein Nature Reserve 4–20 July 2010. Black-footed Working Group, July 2010
  15. ^ Sliwa, A., Wilson, B., Lamberski, N., Lawrenz, A. (2013). Report on surveying, catching and monitoring Black-footed cats (Felis nigripes) on Benfontein Nature Reserve, Nuwejaarsfontein Farm, and Biesiesfontein in 2012. Black-footed Working Group
  16. ^ Olbricht, G., Schürer, U. (1994). International Studbook for the Black-footed Cat 1994. Zoologischer Garten der Stadt Wuppertal
  17. ^ Stadler, A. (2011). International studbook for the black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) Volume 15. Zoologischer Garten der Stadt Wuppertal, Wuppertal
  18. ^ Burnette, S. (2011) Rare cats born through amazing science at Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species. Audubon Nature Institute, Press release of 10 March 2011.
  19. ^ Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. 2012. Animal News Press Release 26 April 2011
  20. ^ Condoian, L. 2011. General Meeting of the Board of Directors. Fresno Chaffee Zoo Corporation, 9 June 2011.
  21. ^ Waller, M. (2012). - Audubon center in Algiers logs another breakthrough in genetic engineering of endangered cats New Orleans Net LLC, 13 March 2012
  22. ^ Chicago Zoological Society. 2012. Black-footed cats born - a first at Brookfield Zoo Press Release 27 March 2012
  23. ^ Kristie Rearick/South Jersey Times (8 June 2014). "Philadelphia Zoo visitors 'paws' to gush over Black-footed Cat kittens". NJ.com. Retrieved 10 June 2014. 
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