All 40 Species Of Wild Cats And Where To See Them In The Wild
From the tiny Rusty-spotted cat of Sri Lanka to the massive Siberian tiger of the Russian Far East, there are 40 species of wild cats in the world, and each of them is as beautiful as it is unique.
Most of us know lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards, but what are all the other types of wild cats out there? If you consider yourself a cat person or simply curious about these charismatic animals, read on to meet the family.
A few years ago, I set myself on an ambitious quest to see all wild cat species in their natural habitat. This quest is likely to take a lifetime some wild cat species are so elusive that they are hardly ever seen. So far, I managed to track down 17 cat species. Below I offer tips on the best tours and destinations for anyone wishing to follow in my footsteps of watching wild cats in their element.
Some of the best books about the Felidae family
First, some FAQ about wild cats
How many species of wild cats are there?
While the total number of recognized species of wild cats varies, the eight lineages that make up the Felidae family are widely accepted. As of November 2017, the Cat Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature recognizes 41 species in the family Felidae .The family Felidae is made up of two subfamilies: Pantherinae that constitutes the 7 big cats, and Felinae that represents the 33 small cats.
What are the 7 Big cats?What is the rarest wild cat? What are the most endangered wild cat species?In this post
Rare Tiny Cubs Of Worlds Smallest Wild Cat Species Born At Uk Animal Sanctuary
The Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary in Cornwall, England, has announced the birth of two cubs belonging to the smallest species of cat in the world. Two rusty-spotted cat cubs have joined the parks residents, and at just two months old have begun exploring their environment with adorable results.
The sanctuary is predominantly a home for unwanted or surplus animals and as such breeding isnt common within the park. However, in 2019 a spare enclosure at Porfell led to them being offered a pair of rusty-spotted cats . The sanctuary reports that, to their knowledge, their rusty-spotted cats were two of just 40 individuals in captivity across the world, and so the opportunity seemed too good to turn down. The keepers decided to let nature take its course and in early 2020 welcomed two new cubs to the tiny clowder.
At almost two months old, the cubs have just begun to explore their new home with their mother. The park isn’t yet sure of their sexes as they report that mum has been keeping such a close eye on them that they havent been able to get close enough to check. At birth, rusty-spotted cats are estimated to weigh just 60 to 77 g , and have a coat made up of rows of black spots. Theyre not much bigger than mice when born but by adulthood will reach around 35 to 45 centimeters .
The Top 10 Smallest Cats In The World
Domesticated cats are some of the most popular pets in the world, but did you know about the range of small cats? We often think of huge beasts when we think of wild felines and small versions when we think of domesticated cats. But just as house felines can be big, their wild counterparts can be small, with some being as tiny as kittens even when theyre fully grown. In fact, over 80% of the worlds species of wild cats are small and about the size of their domesticated counterparts. While big cats get most of the press because theyre so fearsome, the small ones have other things going for them. Here are the 10 smallest cats in the world you will be amazed to know about and might want to see to believe, and not just because theyre so cute.
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Smallest Cats: Oncilla Or Little Spotted Cat
The Oncilla has a habitat range spanning from Costa Rica and Panama in Central America to southern Brazil. Compared to other small wild species, it hunts small mammals, birds, and reptiles, but prefers doing so on the ground rather than in trees. It is the second smallest species in the Americas after the Guiña or Kodkod. The northern oncilla and the southern oncilla species are distinct and do not interbreed with each other.
Population status: DecreasingIUCN Red List status: VulnerableHead-and-body length: 38 to 59 centimetres Tail length: 20 to 42 centimetres Weight: 1.5 to 3 kilograms
Smallest Cats: Guia Or Kodkod
The Kodkod, are excellent climbers and can climb trees that are 3 feet in diameter.
This is the smallest species in the Americas, with a habitat range of Central and Southern Chile, plus bordering areas of Argentina. Although its an agile climber, it prefers hunting on the ground for small mammals, birds, lizards, and insects.
Population status: DecreasingIUCN Red List status: VulnerableHead-and-body length: 37 to 51 cm Tail length: 2025 cm Weight: 2 to 2.5 kg
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Is the Florida Panther on the edge of extinction? Their numbers are growing but at a slow pace. In the 1970s there were only known to be around 20 Florida panthers in the wild. In 2012, their numbers had increased to somewhere between 100 to 160. Today, in 2021, according to the National Wildlife Federation, there are still only between 120 and 130.
Meet The Smallest Feline Species On The Planetthe Rusty
Image credits: BBC
BBC has recently come out with a preview of its latest episode of Big Cats. It features a near-adult rusty-spotted cat that lives in the wilds of Sri Lanka. The rare cat is seen roaming the woods and jumping over water, searching for food, and exploring the premises. And its adorable!
Bored Panda contacted Danielle Miles, a wildlife researcher in Nevada working on faunal response to conifer removals who is currently doing her doctoral degree while also instructing classes . Miles has previously done research on carnivores and animal behavior, including the rusty-spotted cat, and agreed to elaborate on the wild animal species for our readers.
Image credits: BBC
The rusty-spotted cat is a wild species of unusual cats living in the forests of Sri Lanka and much of India, with sporadic sightings in Terai and Nepal.
Danielle Miles wrote for the Animal Diversity Web on the rusty-spotted cat during her undergraduate years at university: The way that the Animal Diversity Web used to work was from a list of species that needed to be updated. Then, through approved universities and advisors, people could volunteer to write up the page for the species needed. At the time, I was an undergraduate researcher working in two labs, one on Spotted Hyenas and one more generally on carnivore evolution. So, when I saw that the Rusty-spotted cat was one of the species that still needed an account, I took the opportunity.
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Meet The Rusty Spotted Cat
The rusty spotted cat is the smallest wild cat in Asia and rivals the black-footed cat as the world’s smallest wild cat, and is thought to be a bit smaller. It is 35 to 48 cm in length, with a 15 to 30 cm tail, and weighs only 0.9 to 1.6 kg .
The short fur is grey over most of the body, with rusty spots over the back and flanks, while the underbelly is white with large dark spots.
But what they lack in size, they make up for in heart!
The rusty spotted cats are super curious and an adventurous bunch.
These cats are found mostly in the forests of India and Sri Lanka. They have always been considered rare, but recent observations suggest they are more common than previously thought.
Given their tiny size and ability to control rodents, they can survive if not persecuted by man. Luckily, the rusty-spotted cat is legally protected throughout most of its range and hunting is prohibited.
Their biggest threats are destruction of their natural habitat due to growing human population.
We hope these little guys are here as long as the earth keeps spinning!
Watch this adorable video clip below!
Smallest Cats: Leopard Cat
The Leopard cat has slightly webbed toes which facilitate swimming and movement on the slippery ground.
The leopard cat turns out to be a separate species from the Sunda Leopard Cat on Borneo and Sumatra, so its not as common to its native habitat in South, Southeast, and East Asia, with countries including Russia, China, India, and Pakistan. The largely tree-dwelling species hunts rodents and insects and is the third smallest wild cat in Asia.
Population status: StableIUCN Red List status: Least ConcernHead-and-body length: 38.866 cm Tail length: 17.231 cm Weight: 0.553.8 kg
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Adorable Remorseless Killing Machine Is World’s Deadliest Cat
ByMindy Weisberger01 November 2018
The deadliest cat on Earth isn’t a shaggy-maned lion, a sleek leopard or a stealthy tiger. It’s a wee cat that you’ve probably never heard of: Africa’s smallest feline, the black-footed cat.
Native to the grasslands of southern Africa, the black-footed cat has an endearingly round face and a light brown, black-spotted body that is small even compared to domestic cats. The wild feline measures only 14 to 20 inches long, stands about 8 inches tall and weighs about 2 to 6 lbs. , according to the International Society for Endangered Cats .
Admittedly, those measurements don’t sound very impressive when compared to the sizable big cats that are among the world’s most fearsome predators. But despite its small size, the black-footed cat hunts and brings down more prey in a single night than a leopard does in six months, according to the PBS Nature miniseries “Super Cats.”
The second episode in the miniseries aired on PBS last night . It featured an unprecedented glimpse of the black-footed cat, along with views of other fascinating and elusive wild felines, such as a pregnant jaguar in Costa Rica, a rare swamp tiger in India and a family of fishing cats the only semiaquatic cats in the wetlands of Asia.
Smallest Cats: Bay Borneo Bornean Bay Bornean Red Or Bornean Marbled Cat
The Bornean Marbled Cats long bushy tail provides the balance needed for moving around in trees.
A rare small wild species that are outnumbered by other wild cats on its native island of Borneo, which is divided into Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. With the remains of one first mistaken for those of an Asian golden cat, but actually much smaller in size, it was determined that both had a common ancestor that diverged for 4.9 to 5.3 million years way before Borneo geologically separated from mainland Asia. Both are also related to the marbled cat and rather than classifying the bay and Asian golden cat in the genus Catopuma, it was suggested to classify them in the genus Parfodelis with the marbled species.
Population status: DecreasingIUCN Red List status: EndangeredHead-and-body length: 49.567 cm Tail length: 30.0- to 40.3-cmWeight: 34 kg
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So What Do They Look Like
“Many describe the rusty-spotted cat as a smaller version of a leopard, with short legs and rounded, smaller ears,” says Ellis. “It got its name from the many rusty brown spots all along its beautiful reddish-gray coat.”
A duo of dark streaks run along each cheek, while four stripes extend above the cat’s eyes, back between the ears and along the shoulders before tapering off into elongated spots. These elongated spots also can be found on the flanks in the form of faint, rusty-brown spots and blotches. The throat, chest and belly, meanwhile, are white, but with large black spots and bars . The rusty-spotted cat also has small rounded ears, black soled feet and a tail that’s a little more than half its body length.
As for this feline’s miniature makeup, “they are about half the size of a normal house cat,” says Sara Ochoa, a veterinary consultant for doglab.com, via an email interview. Adds Ellis: “Rusty-spotted cats are between 2 and 4 pounds fully grown, with a body that ranges from about a foot to 20 inches . Their tails are generally another 6 inches to a foot long.”
Ten Amazing Small Wild Cats
Forget the lions and tigers, these prowling felines have much more to tell us about the natural world
Big cats get the lions share of our attention. We admire their power, felicity of movement, and striking coats of spots and stripes. But the majority of cat species alive today are small there are more than thirty species of little cats that prowl landscapes from the Sahara Desert to Siberian forests. And while they might look like the moggies that purr and cuddle on our laps at home, these cats are wildly different, adapted to mimic the calls of their prey, spring astounding distances into the air, and blend into the jungle so thoroughly that even scientists have trouble finding them. Heres a look at some of the worlds cats that are smaller, but in no way lesser:
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African And Asiatic Wildcat
After some recent taxonomic changes, the wildcat species have been separated into the African and Asiatic wildcat, and the European wildcat. I saw the African wild cat at Kapama Reserve, near Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kafue National Park in Zambia has been suggested as a good spot for the wildcat.
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What Is The Smallest Wild Cat
What Is The Smallest Wild Cat? The Rusty-Spotted Cat wins the title for the worlds smallest wild cat weighing a mere 1.8-3.5 lbs and is 14 to 19 inches in length .
The Rusty-Spotted Cat wins the title for the worlds smallest wild cat weighing a mere 1.8-3.5 lbs and is 14 to 19 inches in length. Their underbellies are white with large dark spots and they have six dark streaks on each side of their heads, extending over their cheeks and forehead. The Rusty-Spotted Cat, known as the Hummingbird of the cat family, is only found in India and Sri Lanka. There are 10,000 Rusty-Spotted Cats in the wild and the species is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN. Like other wild cats, the Rusty-Spotted Cat is on the decline mostly due to habitat loss and hunting pressures. Rusty-Spotted Cats are quite active and playful. The Rusty-Spotted Cat prefers dense vegetation and rocky areas and inhabits deciduous forests as well as scrub and grasslands. The Black-Footed Cat is the second smallest wild cat in the world and holds the title of the smallest cat in Africa weighing 2.2-5.5 pounds with a body length of approximately 14-20 inches. The Black-Footed Cat is nocturnal and opposite of the Rusty-Spotted Cat in that they are highly unsociable and will Seek refuge at the slightest disturbance. However, they are also quite courageous and will hold their ground.
What is a small wild cat called? ocelot
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Introduction: Wild Cats Species
40 wild cat species are currently recognized*. Together with the domestic cat, they make up the family Felidae, one of several families in the order Carnivora.
- Confused by terms such as species, family and order? Take a look at our guide to animal classification.
- Find out more about Carnivora and other types of mammals on this page: Types of Mammal
The first cats appeared around 30 million years ago. All 41 living cat species in the list below are believed to be descended from a common ancestor that lived in Asia between 11.6 and 5.3 million years ago.
* The exact number of cat species is liable to change as research into cat classification is ongoing. For the wild cats list below we have used data from the IUCN Cat Specialist Groups Revised taxonomy of the Felidae, a comprehensive study of wild cat species.
The Deadliest Little Cat On Earth
In one night, a black-footed cat kills between 10 and 14 rodents or small birds, averaging a kill about every 50 minutes, according to Hunter. With a 60 percent success rate, black-footed cats are about three times as successful as lions, which average a successful kill about 20 to 25 percent of the time, Hunter said.
“If you’re a gazelle or a wildebeest, a black-footed cat isn’t at all deadly. But those success rates make them the deadliest little cat on Earth,” he said.
Black-footed cats represent but one species in a highly diverse feline family, many of which are difficult to observe in the wild and are not well-understood. And though most of the felines that appear in “Super Cats” face serious threats of habitat loss and destruction from human activity, conservation efforts can yet preserve vulnerable populations, Hunter said.
“I believe it’s mostly not doom and gloom. But if we don’t actively conserve these species, if we don’t work to reduce those threats, then we could lose some of these animals,” he added.
Episode 2 of “Super Cats” is available to stream beginning today . You can also watch Episode 1 “Extreme Lives” and learn more about the miniseries on the PBS Nature website and on PBS apps. Episode 3, “Science and Secrets,” premieres Wednesday, Nov. 7, at 8 p.m. on PBS .
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