Scientific Name: Felis nigripes
Subspecies: Felis nigripes.nigripes - Southern Africa
Felis nigripes.thomasi - East Cape
Common Name: Small spotted Cat, Black-footed Cat,
Miershoop tier, Schwarzfusskatze, Gattino maculato, Le Chat a pieds noirs.
Distribution: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and
Description: In appearance the cat has a large broad
head in proportion to its small body - its coat colour varies from light sandy
brown to reddish brown and is covered with dark spotted patches which sometime
coalesce into broken stripes. The legs of the black-footed are bared with dark
horizontal stripes and the tail is broken with dark rings and terminates in a
black tip. The pads of its feet are black and are surrounded by long black hairs
which give the small felid its name as well as protecting its feet from the heat
of the semi-desert habitat.
Difference in Sex:
Average Weight: 1.5-2kg average
Habitat: Open dry regions with cover
Habits: By way of adaptation to its arid habitat it is
thought that the black-footed cat can go without water, instead gaining all its
moisture requirement from its food, Black-footed cats inhabit arid brushland and
semi-desert and are known to make their dens in disused Cape Hare burrows, under
the cover of rocks and boulders and occasionally within old anthills for which
the cat earns the local name of 'Anthill Tiger'.
Main feeding time: Nocturnal
Size: 1 to 2 kg, shoulder height 25 cm
Gestation: 2.5 months
Number of young at birth: 1-2 average
Age: 13 years
Diet: main prey species are rodents - such as gerbils,
ground squirrels and pouched mouse - small mammals (although capture of an
equally sized Cape Hare has been observed) and birds. Reptiles, spiders and
insects also constitute a small part of the black-footed cat's diet.
Enemies: Larger predators and birds of prey