Species

Asian golden cat

November 18, 2012, 7:38 pm
Content Cover Image

Asian golden cat. Source: Creative Commons

Introduction

The Asian golden cat (scientific name: Felis temminckii) is a species about which relatively little is known. It inhabits the tropical and sub-tropical moist evergreen and dry deciduous woodlands of Southeast Asia. It is primarily a ground hunter and is thought to climb to catch its prey. The females will produce one to two litters each year with one to four kittens in each litter. The male cat, when observed in captivity, has been known to help care for the young. There is little known about the threats but it is postulated to be hunting and loss of habitat by deforestation.

Physical Description

 

caption Asian golden cat. Source: www.canaryzoo.com

 

Conservation Status

 

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Phylum:--- Chordata
Class:------ Mammalia (Mammals)
Order:-------- Carnivora (Carnivores)
Family:-------- Felidae (Cats)
Genus:----------Catopuma
Species:--------- Catopuma temminckii (Vigors and Horsfield, 1827)

The Asian golden cat is comparatively similar in size to the African golden cat (Felis aurata) as the two species were once thought to be related. New evidence shows that these two are not closely related at all. The Asian golden cat is slightly larger to the African golden cat. Asian golden cats range in body length from 730-1050 millimeters,  with males usually larger than females. The tail is about 1/2 to 2/3 the length of the body, measuring 430-560 mm.

The pelage is of moderate length, dense, and coarse. The markings on the coats vary geographically. Colors of the fur vary from golden brown, to red, to grayish brown. The ventral surface of the tail is distinctly white, and is thought to be used for signalling. In the northern part of its distribution individuals have a spotted pattern on their bodies. Almost all golden cats have a pattern of black and white streaks marking their faces.

Distribution

The Asian golden cat inhabits parts of Southeast Asia such as: Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, southern China and Tibet.

Habitat

This cat can be found in the tropical and sub-tropical moist evergreen and dry deciduous woodlands of these areas.  They occasionally live in open habitats with rocky areas

Food and Feeding Habits

Asian golden cats are carnivorous, with a diet of wild hares, small deer, birds, lizards, snakes, rats, and other small animals. They have been known to kill sheep, goats, and buffalo calves. They often hunt in pairs when attempting larger prey.  While primarily hunting on the ground, the Asian golden cat is an agile climber.

Behavior

Little is known about the behavior of the Asian golden cat. It is predominantly nocturnal, usually terrestrial, but capable of climbing trees. Local Thai tribesman say the golden cat is extremely fierce, however in captivity the cat has proven to be quite docile and obedient.

Reproduction and Social Behavior

Not much is known about the social system of this cat.  Breeding takes place in hollow trees, among rocks, or in hollows in the ground. Females have an estrous of 6 days, cycling every 39 days. Gestation lasts around 95 days. They produce a litter of one to two kittens, with kittens weighing about 250 grams at birth. The kittens double their weight at 3 weeks and triple it by 6 weeks. There is apparenlty no specific breeding season, and if one litter is lost another will be produced within four months. Males play an active role in rearing young. Females reach sexual maturity at 18-24 months while males reach sexual maturity at two years.  It has been known to live up to 18 years in captivity; its longevity in the wild is unknown.

As in all mammals, the mother produces milk for her young. Although parental care has not been studied in this species, it is reasonable to assume that like most felids, the young are altricial, and that the mother cares for her young in some secluded nest or den until they are able to follow her on foraging trips. Young felids typically spend some time with their mother learning species-appropriate hunting behavior prior to the time they disperse.

Threats

Deforestation and habitat destruction has caused a decline in the population of the Asian golden cat throughout much of its range. It is also threatened by hunting for the commercial sale of its pelts, meat, and bones.

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List status of the Asian golden cat has not been evaluated.

 References and Further Reading

Glossary

Citation

McGinley, M. (2012). Asian golden cat. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/150263

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