Asian Golden Cat - Catopuma temminckii - "Fire Cat"By: C.M.Shorter
, striking in appearance, has long
been known throughout its territory in Myanmar (Burma)
as the "Fire
. The Asian Golden Cat is a medium size feline with
a solid, muscular build and fairly long legs making them
agile and excellent climbers. Their unusual coat colorings
range from fox-red (thus the name "Fire Cat")
to gold-brown, black, brown and even gray fur coloring.
coat is of
moderate length, very dense and generally unmarked although
cats in the northern regions are more likely to have spots
and stripes which closely resemble the markings of the
. Ironically, this same exquisite coat and unique
is one of the very things that places them in the greatest
Animal Web Cams
These "Fire Cats" still
figure prominently in ancient Asian folklore. It is unfortunate
these unfound myths have been handed down from generation to
generation. Traditional local legend says that carrying even
one hair from their pelt will protect the bearer from tigers and other dangers. Villagers in this Wild Cat's home range
still believe these animals have magical, mystical powers.
Locals believe that burning the Asian Golden Cat's pelt will
protect their village by driving tigers away. Their meat is
considered a delicacy, with the entire animal being consumed
and the bones ground up for home-made remedies to ward off
fevers and other such ills. These unfound beliefs persist to
this day in the Asian Wild Cat's home range and is one of the
primary reasons for their dwindling population.
Asian Wild Cat's have one very distinguishing
feature, striking facial markings similar to those of the Fishing
Cat - white
lines with black borders across their cheeks. Typical of many
of the Wild Cat species, their undersides and inner legs are
white. This white marking runs the full length of the underside
of their tails which is roughly 30-50% of their body length.
The "Fire Cat's" eyes are usually amber or greyish-green
in color. Ears are small, rounded being black in color on the
back with whitish colored centers.
The Asian species is more abundant
than the African
Wild Cat with territory throughout Southeast
Asia ranging from China,
Thailand, Malaysia and Sumatra into Nepal and traversing into
northeast India. Asian Wild Cats are nocturnal forest hunters,
residing in deciduous and tropical rainforest canopy cover.
Local tribesman have reported sighting dens high in the hollows
of trees. They occasionally travel and have even adapted to
more open, rocky terrain and in China particularly, they are
called the "Rock Cat".
This Asian species closely resembles the African
Golden Cat even though the two species are separated geographically by
over 6,000 kilometers. Over a million years ago, it is believed
the population was once one with forested areas covering Senegal
to China. A region now divided by vast desert areas and, over
the years, it is believed these same deserts isolated and resulted
in the separation of the two species.
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