A rare rusty-spotted cat filmed in Sri Lanka and featured by BBC is considered the world’s smallest wild cat species. It could also be the cutest and an adorable one, but, surprisingly this smallest feline is incredibly tough.
BBC One released a footage of this smallest cat with a documentary series titled, Big Cats, earlier this month. The cat is likened to a “washed version” of a smaller leopard cat. It could just fit in the palm of your hand when it is fully grown. It is more than 1 kg or 200 times lighter than a lion. This cat species could only be found in Sri Lanka and India, according to Metro.
It could grow 14 to 19 inches in length with a tail of about 5.9 to 11.8 inches. You could see its rusty spots over the back and flanks. Meanwhile, its underbelly is white with large dark spots. It also has six dark streaks on each side of its head that stretch over the cheeks and forehead.
The fur of the rusty-spotted cat is short and soft and its body is slender and smaller than a domestic cat. Its head is short and rounded and its legs are short too. Its feet have black soles. The cute cat also has reddish-brown streaks on each white cheek and the chin.
The rusty-spotted cat inhabits in moist and dry forests, bamboo forest, arid scrubland, wooded grassland and rocky hill slopes. It is also found in the tropical dry Gir Forest of northern India. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species to be “Near Threatened” due to loss of habitat.
This rusty-spotted feline, although it is adorable, could act as a predator, particularly if it is looking for food. It is known for its agility and for being a fierce hunter that takes large prey. However, their diet is certainly for small animals. This cat is often killed for hunting domestic chickens.
T.C. Jerdon, a 19th-century naturalist, who had a pet rusty-spotted cat, said that his pet would hunt three squirrels in the rafters of his house. It would also seize a young gazelle by the nape of its neck and would just let it go once it was pulled. This smallest cat is also an accomplished climber. It is seen hunting in trees and often near termite hills in Sri Lanka, feeding on termites, according to Wild Cat Conservation.