IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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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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© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

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