This week in Wildlife Wednesday we focus on the African wild cat, as spotted at Samara Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape in recent weeks.
From the latest Samara newsletter:
Rangers have been seeing African Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) with regularity.
It eats primarily mice, rats and other small mammals. When the opportunity arises, it also eats birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects. The cat approaches its prey slowly, and attacks by pouncing on its prey as soon as it is within range (about one metre).
The African Wildcat is mainly active during the night and twilight. When confronted, the African Wildcat raises its hair to make itself seem larger in order to intimidate its opponent. In the daytime it usually hides in the bushes, although it is sometimes active on dark, cloudy days. The territory of a male overlaps with that of a few females, who defend the territory against intruders.
Gestation and birth
A female gives birth to two to six kittens, with three being average. The African Wildcat often rests and gives birth in burrows or hollows in the ground. The gestation lasts between 56 and 69 days. The kittens are born blind and need the full care of the mother. Most kittens are born in the wet season when there is sufficient food. They stay with their mother for five to six months and are fertile after one year.
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