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Jungle Cat - Felis chaus

By: C.M.Shorter

Jungle cats range from Northeastern Africa into the Asian countries of Thailand and Vietnam, not actually taking residence in the "jungle" but dwelling instead among high grassland in these areas making these woodlands home. Prey varies according to the diverse habitat over which they range. For instance Jungle Cats living along the banks of the Nile River delta may hunt waterfowl, voles, fish & frogs while those in drier habitats seek out hares, gerbils, rodents, birds, snakes, lizards. Along populated areas they are known to make a target of domestic poultry.
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Jungle Cat
Jungle Cat
Like the Jaguar the largest of our Amazon Rainforest cats, the Jungle Cats is almost always found in the vicinity of water. Terrain of these moist areas provides the optimum habitat cover of reeds and high grassland suitable for camouflage and providing prey density. Similar to our Great Cats, the Tigers and Lions these cats must make adaptation to human encroachment within these bounds and are now more frequently seen along the borders of agricultural cropland such as sugar cane and cotton fields. This Wild Cat has adapted well in many areas from Sri Lanka to the western Caspian region, which was once home to the now extinct Caspian Tiger.
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Another place one will find these cats is mummified, often being found as once placed in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians. The Jungle Cat was held in high esteem with etchings depicting them hunting small birds and mammals carved along the great walls of the Ancient Egyptian temples. Modern day scientists speculate domestic cats share genetic lineage links to the Jungle Cat. Small in stature, although somewhat heavier than the Black-Footed Cat or Iriomote Cat, they weigh in between 9 - 32 lbs. Physically attractive, compact and muscular they have short golden-grey coats with white facial markings around their muzzle and eyes with lighter colored undersides. Melanistic cats have been records in Pakistan and India. Females are polyestrous throughout the year and they are found to den, especially with young, in burrows abandoned by other animals and also in the hollows of trees.

Jungle Cats numbers are now dwindling in the wild, once again due to destruction of habitat. This loss of habitat results in reduction in natural prey and they are often killed by farmers for the taking of livestock. Protected only through part of their range, they are placed on CITES Appendix II.

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Scientific Name: felis chaus
Common Name(s): Jungle Cat
Range: Northeast Africa to Thailand and Vietnam, Sri Lanka
Average Weight: 4 - 16kg (9 - 35 lbs)
Length: 35 - 38 cm (14 - 16")
Diet: Carnivorous. Prey varies by region and includes waterfowl, voles, fish & frogs to hares, gerbils, rodents, birds, snakes and lizards.
Gestation Period: 63 - 68 Days
Cub Maturity: 5 - 6 Months
Cubs Per Litter: 1 - 6 Kittens
Lifespan: 12 - 14 years. Captive individuals have been recorded to live 15 years.
Predators: Man.
Social Structure: Solitary.
Territory Size: 45 - 180 km (25 - 100 miles)
Conservation Status: Placed on CITES Appendix II

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