They look like kittens, meow like kittens and evoke affection with all their appearance. But don’t be fooled: under the mask of little fluffy lies the mask of a ferocious predator. Rusty cats are natural killer dodgers that fit in the palm of your hand.
And although in the wild, several species always claim the title of the very best at once, rusty cats are undoubtedly the leaders in the top three micro-whiskered planets with a maximum weight of only 1.6 kilograms. This is almost half the size of a standard domestic snow leopard and as much as 250 times smaller than the largest feline, the liger (this is not a typo).
But the cats themselves have not read scientific articles and have no complexes about the size, so they nightmare small and not very living creatures just like that. Standard prey for rusty cats are small land vertebrates, birds, eggs, and fish. Moreover, the cat hunts both on the ground and in the trees. Mustaches also do not disdain insects and plant foods in the form of fruit roots for dessert. Such an extensive diet is associated with a fast metabolism, which is why rusty cats are often called “hummingbirds among cats” – small and eat like crazy.
These insatiable comrades live in India and on the island of Sri Lanka. The continental and island populations have a number of minor differences in color and habitat, they do not interbreed, so some researchers divide rusty cats into two subspecies.
Indian cats are more common in open spaces: scrub, grasslands and rocky areas, while the islanders prefer tropical forests.
One adult male needs about 300 hectares of land, and females are content with half the land. Giant territories for such a small predator could be a factor in its extinction. But unlike other wild felines, rusty murks do not bypass the tenth way around a human dwelling. Moreover, they were noticed on the outskirts of cultivated fields and in abandoned houses. On the one hand, this is a big plus: animals do not narrow their range.
On the other hand, the consequence of such a neighborhood is attacks on poultry, for which farmers do not really like crumbs-cats. In some areas, rusty cats are still hunted for their skin and meat, although the cat wept for something else.
Due to the fact that cats live in a hot climate, they do not have clear criteria for the breeding season. Otherwise, the mating behavior of rusty cats is similar to that of domestic snow leopards. Most mating occurs in the spring. Moreover, there is so much passion in these little cats that they indulge in love joys up to 7 times per hour. True, everything does not last long – only about a minute.
2.5 months after mating, the female will bring 1-3 tiny cubs. At the time of birth, the babies will be like a hen’s egg. It is not known what role the father plays in the upbringing of wild rusty kittens, but at the zoo the cat protected his offspring no worse than his mother and even brought meat to the kids. A unique bun for cats – usually dads leave for bread and do not return immediately after intercourse.
A month after birth, kittens will begin to emerge from the den in a hollow tree or in a rock crevice. And after two – the young will completely switch to solid food. It is not known for certain when wild rusty cats become independent. But in captivity, the offspring lived with the female up to 9 months without any signs of aggression on her part.
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