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Eco Travel Guide to South Africa and Southern Africa
Mammals of Southern Africa

Large Mammals   Smaller Mammals 

The "Big 5": Lion LeopardElephant Buffalo Rhino

A Guide to the: African Wild Cat - Felis lybica

The African Wild Cat is almost certainly an ancestor of the European domestic cat: it is larger than the household cat, with longer legs. It interbreeds with the domestic cat when near human settlements, with the result that pure-bred African wild cats are no longer very easy to find in these areas.

The African wild cat resembles a tabby except for its larger size, longer legs, shorter tail and a distinct gait, as well as a characteristic rufous colouring on the backs of the ears. They are shy and mostly nocturnal. Their habitat is mainly dense bush and long grass. They are adept tree-climbers, and mice and small birds are their favoured prey.

They stalk their prey before pouncing, lick their fur into shape, wash their face with their forepaws and sharpen their claws on tree trunks. African wild cats also have similar vocalizations to a domestic cat: they mew, purr, hiss and spit, but with greater noise. Litters of two to five, averaging three, are born during summer from September to March, in the disused burrows of other animals.

More facts about African Wild Cats

Kruger National Park
(South Africa)
Pilanesberg National Park (South Africa)

Learn more about the mammal species of Southern Africa with Wildlife Campus. This includes in-depth information about habitat, spoor, droppings, ecology...

Wildlife Campus offers many courses including: Field Guide Courses (FGASA); Game Ranging; Wildlife Management; Photography; Astronomy...

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