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African golden cat

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African golden cat
Scientific Classification
Binomial Name

Profelis aurata

Subspecies
  • Profelis aurata aurata
  • Profelis aurata cottoni

The African Golden Cat is a rare and endangered species of wild cats. There are only 19 of these cats in the world, and six in the United States.[1] They are very good climbers and have a good range of vocalizations for communication.[2]

Despite its name, the African Golden Cat has two color variations: red and gray. It is often referred as "the Leopard's brother" because both cats live in the same area.[1]

Body Design

The African Golden Cat is about twice the size of a large domestic cat and is robustly built with a short tail. The males are larger and heavier than the females.[3] The average length of the body is 30-57 inches, the average weight 24-30 pounds,[1] the height 20 inches, and the average tail length 6-13 inches.[4]

The fur varies from marmalade orange-red to sepia-grey and may be spotted all over, unspotted or somewhere in between.[3] The throat, chest, and underside are white or light colored and the belly is marked with bold dark spots or blotches. The face has a heavy muzzle, and the small, blunt, un-tufted ears have black backs.[3]

Life Cycle

After the gestation period of 75 to 78 days, between one and three kittens are born in a hollow tree den, rocky crevice, or thick vegetation.[1][4] The kitten are born with their eyes closed, but they grow quickly and after 6 or 7 days, they finally open their eyes. At ten days old, they are up and walking. They are then weaned at 6 to 8 weeks, then they reach sexual maturity at 18 months.[2]

The kittens weigh up to 180-235 grams at birth and have small ear tufts. At the age of 3 or 4 months, they can weigh 2.5-3 kg. The African Golden Cat can live up to 12 years in captivity,[4] but in the wild, they can live a lot longer.[1]

Ecology

The African Golden Cat is mainly found in Gabon, where it is found active at all times, day and night.[4] The African Golden Cat is also native to Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, and more.[5]

African Golden Cats are often found in tropical rainforests of western and central Africa at elevations below 3,600 meters, or 11,810 feet. They are solitary and can be active during the day or night, depending on their location.[2]

Other Topic

The primary prey of this cat is small to mid-sized mammals, including tree hyraxes, large and small rodents, small antelope, and birds. The most important part of the cat's diet is fallen, injured monkeys and scavenged eagle kills.[1]

Video

The African Golden Cat is filmed during the day and at night.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Golden Cat Facts Big Cat Rescue. Opened March 14, 2016.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 African Golden Cat. The Animal Files. Opened March 14, 2016. Unknown author.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 African golden cat (Caracal aurata). Wildscreen Arkive. Authenticated January 24, 2011. Dr. Mel Sunquist.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 African Golden Cat. International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada. Updated 2015. Unknown author.
  5. Caracal aurata. Red List. Downloaded on March 16, 2016. Unknown author.