ZOO Wroclaw Rusty-spotted cat - the smallest feline in the world

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Rusty-spotted cat - the smallest feline in the world

2021-09-03
Rusty-spotted cat - the smallest feline in the world

A new species.

A new species of wild cat has arrived at the Wrocław zoo. Two rusty-spotted cats came from the zoo in Ostrava and took up residence in the enclosure adjacent to the Terai pavilion. They are still shy, but they grow more confident every day and start to venture outside.

The rusty-spotted cat at first glance may resemble our domestic tubby, but it is a superficial resemblance. First of all, it is the smallest species of wild cat in the world - it is half the size of a domestic cat and weighs up to 1.6 kg. Besides, it has a distinctive coat pattern which unfortunately is valued by poachers. Its coat is short and soft, the upper parts of the body are gray-brown, varying degrees of rusty, and marked with rusty blotches. There are horizontal stripes on the feet and chest, while the abdomen and inner sides of the legs, as well as the cheeks and chin, are white. In this species, the eyes also stand out - quite large, with gray-brown to amber irises.

The new inhabitants of the Wrocław zoo are a subspecies from Sri Lanka. Originally it lived in rainforests, but due to environmental changes - mainly deforestation, these cats have adapted to life in the vicinity of humans. This is evidenced by the fact that females with kittens have been found on tea plantations.

Little is known about the life of these cats, although it is believed that they are nocturnal. They are known to climb brilliantly and likely hunt both in trees and on the ground. They have a reputation for being particularly fierce hunters of large prey, but their diet consists mostly of small animals - mammals, birds, and amphibians. It seems that they also like to eat insects, because they have been observed near termite mounds, especially after heavy rain, feeding on winged termites. It is suspected that they supplement their diet with fruit, but this has not been confirmed yet.

- This is another species that little is known about. It leads a very secretive existence, so we are still learning about it. For now, most of the information is labeled "most likely" and comes from other zoos and… from a BBC documentary [1]. The filmmakers spent two years in Ceylon observing these fascinating cats. Now our task is to observe and verify the existing findings and, of course, in the future, reproduce this endangered species - says Radosław Ratajszczak, president of the Wrocław zoo.

From August 31 this year, rusty-spotted cats can be viewed in the outdoor or indoor enclosure in the Terai pavilion, where Indian rhinoceroses live.

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