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Jungle Cat

by Ed  

Cat of the Month ~ May 2015


Male Jungle Cat looking very dog like at Pont-Scorff Zoo (Nr Lorient, France)

Photo: Pont-Scorff Zoo

The Jungle Cat or 'Felis Chaus' of Asia is known as the 'reed cat' or 'swamp cat' in Africa. This is probably a more accurate name for this feline, as it rarely strays into jungle regions.

Preferred habitat is anywhere where there is water. Lake margins or riversides which often border dense ground cover are an excellent environment in which to hunt and breed. However the extent of habitation is much wider than this; ranging from desert (where it is found near oases or along dry riverbeds) to grassland, shrubby woodland and dry deciduous forest, as well as cleared areas of forest. They have been observed from sea level up to altitudes of 8,000 ft or more. Jungle cats are distributed throughout Asia, Sri Lanka and India. They are also found in Egypt.

Jungle cats are tenacious and adaptable moving into regions reclaimed by humans , where irrigation and cultivation have been carried out. However the jungle cat is prone to loosing its habitat due to the very same human intervention.

Jungle Cat in motion

Photo: wildwings.co.uk

Similar in build to the Serval and the African Wildcat and once thought to be related to the Lynx, Jungle cats are actually a very close relative of the domestic cat. They have long legs and a sleek build but they can grow to quite a hefty 14 Kilograms in weight standing up to 40 cms tall with a length of almost 100 cms. Tails are short though at 20 to 30 cms, with faint rings, and bearing a black tip. A jungle cats coat can range through sandy-brown, reddish or gray, and is unpatterned except for some brown striping on the legs. The ears are tall and rounded and are reddish with short, wide tufts on the tips.

Jungle cats feed mainly on small mammals, principally rodents, (a study in India's Sariska reserve estimated that jungle cats catch and eat three to five rodent per day). Birds rank second in importance, but in southern Russia waterfowl are the mainstay of jungle cat diet in the winter. With overwintering populations of waterfowl congregating in large numbers on unfrozen rivers and marshes, the jungle cat hunts among reed beds and along edges of wetlands, searching for injured or weakened birds. Other prey species are taken more opportunistically, including hares, nutria, lizards, snakes, frogs, insects, and fish.

Credits:

Pontinha Island Cats

by Ed  

Madeira Island lies 360 miles west of the African city of Morocco, in the north Atlantic Ocean. Pontinha Island lies just twelve feet from the island of Madeira (well in fact, its now connected to the mainland by a harbour wall!). Nevertheless Pontinha is a true Principality ruled over by a self proclaimed Prince, Ranato II. Pontinha is also ruled over by a whole bunch of friendly cats!

     
Kitten Blackie greets us on the steps.
Photo: Ed

    
A View from Cat Island
Photo: Ed

The Cats of Pontinha Island (it seems) were the waifs and strays of Funchal town, but they are now in the protection of the state of Pontinha. They are quite well fed and seemed to be in fairly good health if a little weather beaten by the North Atlantic gales.

     
Ginger curls around some warm driftwood
Photo: Ed

We happened on this curious country of cats while taking our summer break. At the bottom of the steps we climbed to the lookout tower, the first of these creatures came into view. A black kitten with a beautiful face and a yawn that would swallow a whale. More cats appeared as we climbed further up the fortified tower.

     
Once there were pirates...
Photo: Ed

On reaching the lookout platform yet more moggies were taking shelter from the sun. One or two stirred to greet us. Perhaps they know that our small contributions would be paying for their meals of fish scraps.

     
These royal cats need help for food
Photo: Ed

It is said that as far back in time as 1419 the first voyagers to Madeira took refuge on this tiny outcrop before stepping onto its neighboring island – the Island of Madeira.

     
One eye on the admirer
Photo: Ed
Sleeping until dusk when the hunt begins
Photo: Ed
Cut into this natural rock formation are several rooms of the ancient Fort of St. Jose which helped guard Funchal Harbour for at least two centuries. Much of the fort was destroyed in the 19th century when the harbour wall was built. What survived was sold under Royal Charter in 1903 and then became an independent State.
Three cats sleep in the afternoon heat
Photo: Ed
Er, Wot you lookin' at
Photo: Ed
Blackie Bids us a fond farewell
Photo: Ed
Night falls on Pontinah and the lookout is assigned his duty
Photo: Ed