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Jungle Cat

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Other name(s): Reed Cat; Swamp Cat; Chat De Jungle; Chat Des Marais; Gato De La Jungla

Scientific name: Felis chaus

The basics:
Jungle Cats are native to much of Asia, from Egypt in the west to India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. They inhabit savannas, tropical dry forests and reedbeds along rivers and lakes, but, despite the name, are not found in rainforests. Although Jungle Cats are listed as least concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, some populations of subspecies are declining in several countries and areas.

Although never truly domesticated, a small number of Jungle Cats have been found among the cat mummies of Ancient Egypt (the vast majority of which are domestic cats), suggesting that they may have been used to help control rodent populations. Today, the Jungle Cat is used in breeding programs, and has been hybridized with the domestic cat to produce the Chausie and Junglebob breeds.

Appearance / health:
Somewhat larger than domestic cats, jungle cats range from 55 to 94 centimetres (22 to 37 in) in length, plus a relatively short 20 to 31 centimetres (7.9 to 12 in) tail, and stand about 36 centimetres (14 in) tall. Weight varies across the range from 3 to 12 kilograms (6.6 to 26 lb). Males are slightly larger than females. The face is relatively slender, with large rounded ears. Due to the long legs and short tail, and the fact that the ears bear a tuft of black hair, this cat resembles a small lynx (hence the name "swamp lynx").

Dependent on the subspecies the colour of the fur is yellowish-grey to reddish-brown or tawny-grey, and is ticked with black. Vertical bars are visible on the fur of kittens, which disappear in adult cats, although a few dark markings may be retained on the limbs or tail. The muzzle is white, and the underside is paler in color than the rest of the body.

Diet:
In the wild, Felis chaus preys on hares and other small mammals, ground birds, snakes, lizards and frogs.

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