Caracal aurata

African golden cat

Caracal aurata

African golden cat

Description

The African golden cat is medium in size, with short paws and a tail ending with black fur. It is about twice as large as a domestic cat. The African golden cat’s fur is short and has a golden, grey or red colour which can change over time. There may be dots on its body, but not necessarily.

On the mouth, you can often see white spots, and over the eyes two darker stripes. There is a white border around the eyes. The cheeks often have tiny, dark dots. The profile of this golden creature is clearly rounded and gives the cat an interesting look.

Its charming, short ears are slightly rounded, widely spaced, dark at the back, and filled with white fur in the front.

There is a dark bar running through the entire body of the African golden cat. Interestingly, the fur on the neck runs up, unlike on the rest of the body.

There are melanistic individuals and in the range of occurrence they constitute five percent of all cats. Black pigment is transmitted by means of a unique gene and is very rare.

Behaviour

Although this species has been known for 200 years, it was only in 2002 that the first photograph of the live African golden cat was made. This beautiful representative of the Felidae family is very secretive and avoids people.

The African golden cat moves across various areas, but it favours places with dense vegetation, as it is easier to hunt there. It is dependent on rainforest, bamboo and misty forests. It is a loner, so it chooses the area it defends.

The African golden cat is usually active at night, at dawn and at dusk. Then it goes hunting. Its favourite prey are small mammals like rats and hyraxes. Sometimes it can also hunt monkeys or a birds. The hens, goats and sheep are also right size for it to hunt, which makes cat a nuisance to breeders.

There is no information available about the breeding season of this species. It is known that golden kittens are born blind and open their eyes during first week. Small golden cubs are very agile and develop quickly. Kitties start exploring the area and climbing trees around the second week of life.

Small golden kitties begin to get to know meat six weeks after birth. Female of the African golden cat observed in captivity carried the nest to a sunnier place during this period to sunbath during the day near the hideout. The golden kittens grow up quickly. Males after reaching half a year are ready to procreate, and females closer to the first birthday.

The endangered African golden cat exhibits typically catlike behaviour, as we know from domestic animals. It bends the body in a bow, raising the fur on the back and making dangerous noises. Then it wraps its short tail in the shape of a hook and aggressively straightens it, using it like a whip.

Threats

The African golden cat is vulnerable to extinction and its population is still decreasing. Among African tribes, the golden cat is considered magical, but it only causes problems for the species. Parts of its body are used for various mystical rites. It is believed, among other things, that their tails bring luck when hunting elephants.

The African golden cat, as dependant on forests, is exposed to significant territory restrictions. The sad fact is that the African golden cat is sold in a bushmeat trade.

Its natural competitor in the struggle for survival is a leopard. The African golden cat loses in battle with this larger predator.

The African golden cat is protected only on part of its territories. In places like Tanzania or Uganda, the hunt for this little predator is completely legal and uncontrolled.

Source of picture: http://animalia.bio/african-golden-cat

Author: Małgorzata Banaszkiewicz

sand cat
Felis margarita
margay
Leopardus wiedii
leopard
Panthera pardus

HOW YOU CAN HELP

Support our cause

If you want to help us save endangered species of cats, you can make a donation. Set the amount you pay in the name of protecting these beautiful animals. As a thank you for a donation of minimum PLN 10 you will receive from us a code entitling you to download one of the many wallpapers for your computer and phone.

Support SWCF