African Wildcat (Felis silvestris)

Back to Fauna & Flora Index

African wild cat, as seen in the Etosha Park, Namibia

Scientific Name: Felis silvestris 
Felis silvestris.foxi - West Africa 
Felis silvestris.cafra - Southern Africa
Felis silvestris.griselda - Central Africa
Felis silvestris.lybica - Northern Africa
Felis silvestris.mellandi - Central Africa
Felis silvestris.ocreata - East Central Africa
Felis silvestris.pyrrhus - West Central Africa
Felis silvestris.sarda - Nort West Africa
Felis silvestris.ugandae - East Africa
Felis silvestris.brockmani - East Africa

Common Name: African Wildcat 
Description: Because of the diversity of habitat in which the African wildcat is found there is a wide range of coat coloration, varying from a light sand colour in the arid semi-desert and grassland areas to a darker grey/brown in the more forested locations. Markings also vary, from tabby stripes to faint spots and are again broadly associated with habitat types.
Difference in Sex: males are normally larger and heavier than females.
Average Weight of Adult male:
Habitat: the African wildcat is to be found in most parts of the continent with the exclusion of the true desert areas around the Sahara and the central African rain forests belt. The species also extends up to the Arabian Peninsula, where it can be found in most coastal regions away from the dessert heartland
Main feeding time: Hunting is usually carried out at night
Size: 2,5 to 7 kg, Shoulder  height 35 cm
Gestation: Two months
Number of young at birth: 2-6 average, mostly 3
Age: 12 to 15 years
Diet: Throughout the range rodent species form the main part of the African wildcat’s diet and include mice, rats and gerbils - other prey species include scrub hare and rock rabbits, insects, birds and small reptiles and frogs. 
Enemies: greatest threat to African species is that of hybridisation with the large populations of feral and domestic cats found throughout the range of the African wildcat. 
Interesting facts: Can breed with domestic cats.
Credits: Christian Fourie