The Jungle Cat
Scientific Name: Felis chaus
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Weight: 5-27 pounds
The Jungle Cat is the largest of the Felis cats, with a tall slender build, long legs, and a fairly short, banded tail measuring around a third of the body length. The head is relatively compact with large, triangular ears topped with short, sometimes indistinct dark tufts. They are uniformly coloured, typically light to dark tawny with greyish, gold or rusty tones. The body is faintly marked with indistinct stripping or spots that are entirely absent in some individuals. The lower limbs and tail are more distinctively marked with dark blotches and banding. The face is lightly marked with indistinct cheek and forehead stripes and, typically a distinctive, bright white muzzle and chin. Up to 6 subspecies have been described based largely on superficial differences, especially in pelage, which varies within and between populations
The Jungle Cat feeds primarily on small mammals weighing less than 1kg. They are relatively powerfully built and occasionally take larger mammals including coypu, weighing about 5-9kg. Depending on location, other prey sources include hares, gazelles, wild boar piglets, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and a wide variety of fish.
Habitat and Distribution:
The Jungle Cat has an extensive but patchy range from Vietnam and southern China to western Turkey and Egypt. The species’ stronghold is south Asia. The small portion in Africa is restricted to Egypt on the Mediterranean coast, along the Nile River Valley from the delta to Aswan, and in a scattering of oases west of the Nile. Despite the name, the Jungle Cat avoids dense forested habitats and closed canopy rainforests. They prefer well-watered and dense reedbeds, grassland, and shrubland associated with swamps, wetlands, marshes, open forests, and coasts.
The Jungle Cat reproduction and demography is poorly known from the wild. It is thought that the species breed seasonally, which is credible d=for parts of the range with climatic extremes. Gestation is between 63-66 days. Litter size is usually 2-3 kittens, exceptionally up to 6.