Black-Footed Cat

[Felis nigripes]

Hfafbypmcdtlxukaickv The Black Footed Cat has a head and body length of about 15 inches and a tail length about 7 inches. Black footed cats weigh about 3.5 pounds. The legs are relatively long, and the head is wide with large, rounded ears. It's coloration ranges from cinnamon-buff in the south to tawny in northern populations and are heavily spotted and barred. There are 3 broad transverse bars on the upper limbs and narrow, shorter bars on lower limbs. The undersides of the feet are black (hence the name). Four black bands from the head or nape extend onto the back and flanks, and the tail is spotted with a black tip. The underparts are pale with a white chin, chest and insides of thighs.

Location: Cat Exhibits

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Range
Their range is the southwest arid zone in Botswana, Namibia and the Karroo south of the Orange River.
Habitat
They inhabit open country with cover in the form of scrub, bushes and clumps of grass.
Gestation
Gestation is 63 to 68 days.
Litter
They may have a litter of 1 to 3 kittens.
Behavior
By day the black-footed cat lies up in disused burrows or in termite-mound ventilation shafts. The arid country it inhabits is mostly waterless, but it will drink occasionally when rainwater pools are present. It is solitary and territorial. It is nocturnal and so shy that it hides at the slightest disturbance. It has the reputation of being more intractable and antisocial in captivity than any other cat. Even kittens taken before their eyes open and hand-reared make defensive threats and retreat to dark corners or attempt to attack their owners. Skill and persistence in digging suggest that they dig for insects, spiders and other subterranean prey.
Reproduction
Estrus in the black footed cat lasts only about 36 hours. A female will accept copulation for a period of only 5 to 10 hours, during which thime a pair mates up to six times. Kittens quickly mature at birth and develop quickly. Their eyes open at 6 to 8 days and they leave the nest at 4 weeks. They start eating solid food at 5 weeks and capture prey (mice) at 6 weeks. A captive mother kept her kittens from leaving the nest until they were 3 weeks old but later actually hauled kittens reluctant to leave out by the nape. She tried to move the nest site every 6 to 10 days.
Wild Diet
Small rodents, insects, ground birds and lizards
Zoo Diet
Canine diet, bones weekly, fish as available
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