ANIMAL: Black-Footed Cat Felis nigripes Type of Animal: Feline Habitat: Scrub desert, desert, semi-desert, sandy plains, grassy plains, dry open scrubland, arid/semiarid scrub, savanna, steppe, open sandy grassy areas w/ sparse scrub & tree cover, shrubland w/ short grasses/low bush cover/scattered clumps of low bush & higher grasses, grassland, scrub forest, open terrain near rocky outcrops, dense thickets, found from sea level all the way to 6,561.68 ft Location(s): Southern Africa Appearance: Smallest cat in Africa, tawny coloration w/ black spots/stripes, head darker than rest of body but paler above eyes, pale off-white lining ears/eyes/mouth, black to dark brown foot soles, banded black tip tail, black streaking running from eyes along cheeks Food/Diet: Small mammals, birds up to size of bustards, arachnids, insects, reptiles, eggs, amphibians, carrion Status in Wild: Threatened Conservation: Breeding in zoos & wildlife centers. Field research in natural habitat. Lifestyle: Solitary Additional Info: Called: Male: Tom Female: Queen Young: Kitten Group: Solitary Weight: Male: 3.5-5.4 lbs Female: 2.4-3.6 lbs Young: 1.2 lbs Gestation: 8-9 weeks Life Span: 8 years in wild, 10-15 years in captivity Height: Male: 10 in Female: 8 in Body Length: Male: 1.391-1.641 ft Female: 1.108-1.208 ft Tail Length: Male: 5.9-7.9 in Female: 6.2-6.7 in Main predators are caracals, jackals, domestic/feral dogs, domestic/feral cats, hyenas, raptors, & snakes. Threatened due to indirect poisoning, habitat loss/degradation, overgrazing, loss of prey, & diseases from domestic cats & dogs. Active at night (nocturnal). Kittens leave mom at 4-5 months old w/ females maturing at 7 months & males at 8 months. These cats are very shy & elusive. Utilize 3 hunting styles-fast hunts involving moving in swift bounds while flushing prey, slow hunts involving snake-like winding between grass tufts, & sit-and-wait where they station themselves in certain area waiting for prey. Females only come into heat 1-2 days per breeding season (they usually have 2 breeding seasons) & are only sexually receptive for a few hours during heat cycle. They have excellent eyesight & hearing. 1 male territory has 1-4 female territories within. Fun Fact(s): While very small, these cats can be highly aggressive & temperamental. African legends have claimed these tiny cats can bring down giraffes by leaping onto their necks. While this specific legend is untrue, these cats are highly tenacious & fierce. These cats have a 60% hunting success rate-highest of any feline species. Sometimes called Anthill Tigers due to habit of denning in/near termite mounds/ant hills. Excellent jumpers able to catch birds in air (up to 4.7 ft high).