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The black-footed cat (Felis nigripes) is the smallest African cat and is one of the smallest cat species. Only the pads and underparts of its feet are black. It is this characteristic that gives the black-footed cat its name. The fur varies in colour from cinnamon-buff to tawny, and is patterned with black or brown spots that merge to form rings on the legs, neck, and tail. The skin, however, is unpigmented pink, unlike that of other spotted cats. The backs of the rounded ears are the same color as the background coat color. The eyes are very large. Black-footed cats are solitary and strictly nocturnal. They spend the day resting in dense cover, in unoccupied burrows of springhares, porcupines and aardvarks, or in hollow termite mounds. They emerge to hunt after sunset. Black-footed cats are highly unsociable animals that seek refuge at the slightest disturbance. However, when cornered they are known to defend themselves fiercely. Due to this habit and their courage, they are called "miershooptier" (anthill tigers) in parts of the South African Karoo.
March 15th, 2013
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