Wild Cats of Africa (for kids)

The picture shows the nine wild cats of Africa. If you click on any of the nine cats in the picture you will be taken to a page where you can read facts about that cat written in plain English for children. You will also see a large picture that shows you some more facts. Just below the picture on this page there are some basic, easy to read facts, about these 9 wild cats.

cheetahAfrican wildcatlionleopardcaracalAfrican golden catBlack-footed catSand cat

Lion – This is the biggest of the wild cats of Africa. It is the second largest cat in the world after the tiger. It is the most famous of all the African wild cats. It is special in three main ways. The lion mane (long hair around its shoulders and head) is unique and has an effect on how attractive he is to female lions. Darker manes are more attractive. The lion is the only wild cat to live in a group called a “pride”. When a male lion wants to take charge of a group of lions he will kill the young cubs in the pride to make sure that he is the father of the cubs in the pride he is in charge of. A pride of lions is a group of female lions who are related with each other and some males. The lion also lives in India. But there aren’t many in India.

Leopard – The leopard is cunning and crafty. It is the fifth biggest wild cat. It is a big wild cat. It lives in lots of places other than Africa. It lives in the biggest area of the world of all the wild cats. You will see this cat in Africa and all the way to the coast of Russian in the east. The leopard is famous for his spots. The leopard looks like the jaguar. It will kill whatever it can and avoid people and bigger animals that can kill it and take its prey.

Cheetah – This large wild cat has long legs and good lungs (a big chest). It is like a greyhound. It has a flexible body. These things mean it can run faster than any other animal in the world. There is a lot of stuff on the internet about how fast this cat can run. I think people like to pretend it can run faster than it does. People say the cheetah can run at 70 miles per hour. I believe it can run at a top speed of 64 miles per hour. This is still very fast. This is a spotted wild cat. It uses its speed to catch animals to eat. It needs open land to do this.

Caracal – This medium sized wild cat has famous ears. The ears have a very long bunch of black hairs coming out of the top of the ear (called a “tuft”). This probably makes ear movements more visible. People believe that the caracal can “talk” to other cats by moving its ears. The caracal is a strong cat. If this cat was an athlete at the Olympic Games it would be a win a gold medal in gymnastics. It can catch birds while they are flying away. They live in lots of areas of Africa and like dry areas. You will also see them in places other than Africa such as the Middle East.

Serval – A medium sized wild cat that has the longest legs compared to its body size of all the wild cats. It has very large ears too. It uses its ears to search for animals to catch and eat (“prey”) in the long grass that it likes to live in. The serval is a great jumper. When it has found an animal to eat it jumps in the air and lands on it, stunning it and then it kills it. This is a spotted cat. It can run fast too.

African Golden Cat – Perhaps the most secretive of all the wild cats. It is a small wild cat about twice the size of a domestic cat. We need to know more about this cat. The name is wrong really because this cat is not always golden. Sometimes the coat is grey. And sometimes it has spots and sometimes there are less spots. It likes to live in forests but people in Africa are cutting down the forests. The live in a band across the center of Africa.

Black-footed Cat – An interesting little wild cat that looks like a domestic cat but is very fierce! They have to be to survive. They like desert conditions and live in termite hills. The name is wrong as only the paws pads are black and the African wildcat has black paw pads too. They are one of the smallest wild cats. They live in the south of Africa. They are rare and hard to see where they live.

Sand Cat – Another cute looking small wild cat. It looks like a domestic cat but behaves like a true wild cat. It has a sandy colored coat. It is hard to see in the desert and in very dry areas where it likes to live. It is the only real desert loving wild cat. But the Black-footed cat likes dry places too. The sand cat has learned to live without drinking water. It gets all the water it needs from eating animals. Animals contain lots of water.

Africa Wildcat – The African wildcat is famous for being the cat that became the domestic cat. Yes, I know it is hard to believe but about 10,000 years ago this cat became a sort of domestic cat living near and with people. You can see that it looks like a domestic cat even today. It has a tabby coat. It is the same size as a domestic cat. All of today’s domestic cats living in homes all over the world come from this species (particular type) of cat. It is easy to tame as I guess you have worked out. It lives in Africa and other parts of the world.

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