Super Cats: The Incredible Cats of the Wild
We tend to think of cats as cute, cuddly, purring pets who like to nap in patches of sunlight and occasionally chase after a string. However, there are hundreds of different species in the feline family, and some of them are incredible, powerful, wild animals.
To start with a medium-sized wildcat, the Caracal lives in the savannas, mountains, and deserts of Africa, Asia, and India. Known for their strikingly beautiful markings and coats, these cats are easily distinguished from others, with especially long, protruding hair-like tufts on the tips of their large ears. These tufts, or tassels, are used by Caracals to communicate with one another.
Another cat known for its beauty, the Ocelot is an active, nocturnal hunter. Once populating much of the southern United States, they now only exist in a small group in Texas, in addition to almost all of Mexico, Central, and South America. Ocelots look quite similar to house cats, although they are almost always significantly larger in size. They are known to “chuckle” when excited and “mutter” when communicating with one another.
The Serval is a unique-looking creature, known for its long neck and small head, which have earned it the nickname “giraffe-cat.” These wild cats are native to the savannas of Africa, and never weigh more than about forty pounds at most. Their extremely large ears assist them in hunting, which they tend to do at night. They are unique amongst wildcats in their propensity for playing in bodies of water and disdain for sunlight.
Like the Caracal, the Canada Lynx has large, distinctive black tufts on its ears. These cats live in snowy climates in the Northern United States and throughout Canada. These terrains suit their gigantic paws which can be used as flotation devices of sorts. These beautiful cats have extremely thick, silver fur, and are perfectly evolutionarily adapted to surviving in the coldest, iciest of climates.
The Iberian Lynx
As its name would suggest, this species of Lynx is native to Spain and Portugal and is extremely rare in the wild. Equipped with the black ear-tufts found on other big cats, these Lynxes are usually heavily spotted and have darker colors in their coats, as well as a characteristic “beard” of long hair around their chins. They do not travel in packs, unlike some other types of cats - rather, they are solitary creatures, only cohabitating with their babies in the months after birth.
To look at a Black-Footed Cat, you might think it was a house pet. However, these adorable, fluffy creatures are the most successful hunters in the feline family, with a 60% catch success rate. Don’t worry - you won’t run into one at your new friend’s house. These cats live in Southern Africa and are the smallest known species of wildcat on Earth.