The more exotic cat
We’ve all heard about the big cats like lions and tigers but did you know that there are many other types of wild cats around the world?
Here are just a few:
This little cat can be found across the deserts of north Africa and south-west Asia. He has adapted very well to desert life and manages to survive without drinking water by obtaining all the moisture he needs from his food.
During the day when temperatures may soar up to 50ºC, the sand cat will shelter beneath shrubs or use his excellent digging skills to make a burrow in which to rest. His ears help keep him cool by providing a large surface area from which excess warmth can radiate. The thick hair growing across his foot pads allows him to move easily across the shifting sands without sinking and also protects him from the heat and cold.
At night when the temperature can drop below freezing, his dense fur provides great warmth and insulation. He feeds on a variety of small creatures such as gerbils, sand voles, spiders and even venomous snakes like the sand viper.
The Scottish wildcat is unique to Britain and is found only in Scotland. It is a sub species of the European wildcat but the Scottish version is larger. He looks like a very large tabby cat with a thick tail that is ringed with bands of black and brown.They are solitary creatures who mostly go out at night.
By day they rest in dens or forests. They eat rabbits and small mammals and some have been known to try and scoop fish out of rivers.
There are fewer than 400 wildcats in the wild today and the great fear is that someday soon they may become extinct.
The Fishing cat is a very good swimmer and can be typically found living in wetland habitats – such as mangroves, marshes, swamps and tidal creeks – across southern Asia.
His main source of prey is fish and he usually hunts after dark and is capable of swimming long distances in search of prey which he will grab from the water with his paws. He will also dine on molluscs, crustaceans and frogs as well as land animals such as rodents, birds, snakes, wild pigs and sometimes livestock such as poultry and goats.
He is around twice the size of a domestic cat with a powerful, stocky build, long body, short tail and legs and a distinctive broad head. His grey/brown coat is dotted with dark spots across his body and rows of stripes running across his head and neck.
Sorry, but this cheeky chap is not a member of the cat family! The word ‘meerkat’ is Dutch for lake cat, but the animal is actually a member of the mongoose family.