The Flat-headed Cat
Scientific Name: Prionailurus planiceps
IUCN Status: Endangered
Weight: 3-5 pounds
The Flat-headed Cat is a small, very distinctive cat with a short, tubular body, relatively short, slender legs and a stubby tail. The head is small with compact, foreshortened face and closely set, large eyes, a flattened forehead and small rounded ears. The feet are partially webbed and the claw sheaths are reduced so that the claws protrude visibly. Flat headed cats are dark roan-brown graduating to rich rusty-brown on the head. The face has bright white on the cheeks, eyebrows, and under the eyes, and contrasting dark rusty-brown cheek and eyebrow stripes. The body is dense and soft, and is largely unmarked except for light dappling and banding on the legs and belly; the tail is sometimes faintly banded.
The Flat-headed Cat is one of the world’s least known cats and its ecology in the wild is largely a mystery. The species’ unique morphology, behavior, and habitat preferences suggest it is adapted to forage for aquatic prey in shallow water and along muddy riverbanks. Estimated prey include a wide variety of fish and crustaceans. Other prey may include small rodents, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians.
Habitat and Distribution:
The Flat-headed Cat has a limited range restricted to Borneo, Sumatra, and Peninsular Malaysia. These cats are closely associated with moist, lowland forested habitats and wetlands. More then 80% of historical and recent records of the species occur below 100m above sea level, and more than 70% of records are within 3km of large rivers and water sources. They inhabit primary and secondary forest, peat-swamp forest, mangrove, and coastal scrub-forest.
The Flat-headed Cat reproduction and demography is completely unknown from the wild. Gestation is around 56 days in captivity with litter sizes of 1-2 kittens based on only 3 captive litters.