African Golden Cat   CAT
African Golden Cat
African Golden Cat
T. Whittaker
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Scientific Name:
Caracal aurata
Other Names and/or Listed subspecies:
Profelis aurata
Group:
Mammals
Status/Date Listed as Endangered:
NT-IUCN: 2008
Area(s) Where Listed As Endangered:
Africa
 
 

The African golden cat is a wild cat with a medium-sized body compactly built and relatively short legs. Its size is almost double that of the domestic cat. It has a small head which is relative to the body and has ears which are rounded and not tufted. Its fur can be reddish-brown or grayish in color possessing few or no spots. The underside, the chest and the throat are usually white in color but sometimes have dark patches. It also has white patches around its eyes which may also appear on its cheeks. The African golden cat weighs about 9 to 15 lb, has a body length of about 20 to 40 inches with a tail length ranging from 9 to 14 inches. This cat can live up to 12 years in captivity. However it is not known how long it survives in its regular habitat.

The African golden cat is a solitary animal mostly living alone. It hunts both during the day and night depending on locality and availability of prey. African golden cats feed on small animals including monkeys, duikers, hyraxes, rats, birds and sometimes domestic animals in areas near human settlement. You will find the African golden cat in the equatorial rainforest in West, Central and East Africa where the forests are dense and moist. It is also highly adaptive to coastal forest, bamboo forest and woodland savannah. Studies of captured cats show that they are solitary, and they only pair up during the mating season to mate. Gestation period is up to 78 days after which it bears one but some rare cases two litters. The kittens open their eyes after six days and start walking from day 12 to 14. By day 42 the young cats can feed on a whole animal.

The African golden cat is listed as endangered due to increased deforestation to make room for expansion of human settlement and infrastructure such as roads and railway lines leading to reduction in its area of occupation. The cat is also preyed on by leopards and accidentally killed by electrical fences surrounding most forests and hunted mostly for pleasure in some African communities whereby its skin and other parts are used in rituals and as good luck charms in hunting expeditions. To protect this cat some countries have banned hunting, sadly though this is not the case in some other countries leading to their increased reduction. Due to difficulty in studying them, no helpful information exists on the estimated population historically and currently.




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Copyright Notice: This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "African golden cat".

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