This long-limbed, solitary cat is present in abundance throughout sub-Saharan Africa, from the bamboo thickets on the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro and the caldera of the Ngorongoro Crater, to the dry savannah and semi-arid grasslands of South Africa. It vocalises by way of purring and high-pitched chirps, and preys on small rodents.
Whereas servals are very hardly ever noticed throughout the Sahel and North Africa, it was as soon as widespread, a lot in order that Historic Egyptians and Historic Nubians immortalised them of their artwork, the place they had been seen being bartered or offered as presents.
Finest locations to see serval: Kruger Nationwide Park, South Africa
These secretive, evening crawlers are simply recognised by their distinctive facial markers and tufted ears. Caracal are well-known throughout giant swathes of Africa however you’d be mistaken for pondering they’re native to this continent alone. Historic information have attested to their presence in locations as far afield as Asia.
In actual fact, centuries in the past, caracal had been even tamed in India, Persia and Egypt, so as to be used for looking – with the feline’s capacity to leap a whopping 4 metres within the air little question serving to in these pursuits.
Finest locations to see caracal: Kalahari Plains, Botswana; Kruger Nationwide Park, Addo Elephant Nationwide Park, De Hoop Nature Reserve, South Africa
3. Golden Cat
Maybe you had heard in regards to the first two entrants on this checklist, however we’d take a wager you haven’t heard of Africa’s golden cat. With a fame because the continent’s least-studied wild cat, recognizing this feline in its pure habitat – the equatorial forests of central and west Africa – is tough sufficient, however including to this, the golden cat is notoriously elusive and shy.
Shut cousin to the caracal, golden cats are heavy-set and about double the dimensions of your customary home selection, with a noticed coat that may vary from amber to stone gray. Whereas its vary is restricted to tropical, verdant forests, its territories are sprawled throughout a number of international locations from Senegal to Kenya. As a consequence of its reclusive habits, not a lot is understood about golden cats’ behaviour and it has solely been caught on digicam a handful of occasions (most lately in Uganda’s Kibale Nationwide Park).
Finest locations to see golden cat: there’s no assure with this feline, however surveys have recorded their presence in Kibale Nationwide Park, Uganda and Moukalaba-Doudou Nationwide Park, Gabon.
4. Sand Cat
Caracal have at occasions been known as the ‘desert lynx’, however that title can be extra apt for the diminutive sand cat. Favouring dry, sandy and stone habitats far faraway from main water sources, their vary extends from the Moroccan Sahara and Algeria’s Ahaggar Mountains to the Arabian peninsula. The Tuareg folks have lengthy revered sand cats for his or her environment friendly dealing with of venomous snakes discovered abundantly within the desert.
Finest locations to see sand cat: Dakhla-Oued Ed-Dahab, Morocco
5. Black-footed Cat
Regardless of being the smallest predator on this checklist, the black-footed cat is undoubtedly one of the deadly. Measuring between 34-50cm in head and physique size, it’s recognized to assault mammals and birds bigger than themselves. San folklore even speaks of a black-footed cat preying on a child giraffe.
This cat’s vary is restricted to the dry shrubland and savannahs of Southern Africa from components of Botswana to Namibia. Its most notable inhabitants appears to be in components of South Africa’s Northern Cape the place a analysis venture to check the cats’ behaviour is underway at Benfontein Nature Reserve.
Supply: The African Insider