Little cats

CARACAL CARACAL CARACAL | Consummate predators, some small wildcats can take down larger prey. The caracal of Asia and Africa is less than two feet tall but has been filmed leaping over nine-foot fences to prey on sheep.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM, OHIO

PALLAS’S CAT OTOCOLOBUS MANUL | A famously grumpy expression made this Central Asian species an Internet star. Conservationists hope the cat’s celebrity will help save its habitat from encroaching farms and other threats. PHOTOGRAPHED AT COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM, OHIO

IBERIAN LYNX LYNX PARDINUS | One of the world’s rarest cats, the Iberian lynx is slowly increasing in number as scientists release captive-raised cats and boost populations of rabbits, the lynx’s staple food.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT MADRID ZOO AND AQUARIUM, SPAIN

FISHING CAT PRIONAILURUS VIVERRINUS | The cat may look peculiar, but it’s perfectly adapted to its lifestyle: Big eyes help snare prey underwater, double-coated fur keeps out the wet, and partially webbed feet and a muscular, rudderlike tail aid in swimming.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT POINT DEFIANCE ZOO AND AQUARIUM IN TACOMA, WASHINGTON

LYNX LYNX LYNX | The largest of the four lynx species, the Eurasian lynx also has a huge range, including most of Europe and parts of Central Asia and Russia. Unlike many other small cats, its population is stable and threats are relatively low—although some isolated subgroups are critically endangered.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT COLUMBUS ZOO AND AQUARIUM, OHIO

JAGUARUNDIS HERPAILURUS YAGOUAROUNDI | With long, squat bodies and tiny ears, jaguarundis are otterlike in appearance. Thanks to their huge range—parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America—and lack of widespread hunting, the cat is considered a species of least concern.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT BEAR CREEK FELINE CENTER, FLORIDA

CAT CLOSE-UP Little cats get curious behind Joel Sartore’s camera lens. Watch five species of felines in motion.

Advances in genotyping and sequencing reveal that Earth’s 31 small cat species hail from seven distinct lineages, each named for the first discovered species in the line. While modern cheetahs and pumas are large in size, they are genetically more closely related to small felines.

LEOPARD CAT PRIONAILURUS BENGALENSIS | PHOTOGRAPHED AT ANDERSON, INDIANA

ASIATIC WILDCAT FELIS SILVESTRIS ORNATA | PHOTOGRAPHED AT OMAHA’S HENRY DOORLY ZOO AND AQUARIUM, NEBRASKA

SAND CAT FELIS MARGARITA | PHOTOGRAPHED AT CHATTANOOGA ZOO, TENNESSEE

LEOPARD CAT PRIONAILURUS BENGALENSIS | PHOTOGRAPHED AT ANGKOR CENTRE FOR CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY, CAMBODIA

CANADA LYNX LYNX CANADENSIS | Like the Iberian lynx, the Canada lynx is a specialist hunter, preying almost exclusively on snowshoe hare. The North American species has giant paws that help it run through deep snow after prey. PHOTOGRAPHED AT POINT DEFIANCE ZOO AND AQUARIUM, WASHINGTON

MARGAY LEOPARDUS WIEDII | PHOTOGRAPHED AT CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN, OHIO

FLAT-HEADED CAT PRIONAILURUS PLANICEPS | Similar to the fishing cat, the endangered flat-headed cat catches fish and frogs in Southeast Asian wetlands, which are rapidly disappearing due to human development. Its population is expected to continue declining. PHOTOGRAPHED AT TAIPING ZOO, MALAYSIA

GEOFFROY’S CAT LEOPARDUS GEOFFROYI | PHOTOGRAPHED AT CINCINNATI ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN, OHIO

SERVAL LEPTAILURUS SERVAL | PHOTOGRAPHED AT FORT WORTH ZOO, TEXAS

RUSTY-SPOTTED CAT PRIONAILURUS RUBIGINOSUS | The smallest of the small cats, the rusty-spotted cat, a native of India and Sri Lanka, can weigh as little as two pounds. Not much is known about the speckled feline, but destruction of habitat, hunting, and hybridizing with domestic cats are threats.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT EXMOOR ZOO, ENGLAND

AFRICAN GOLDEN CAT CARACAL AURATA | Inhabiting the rain forests of West and Central Africa, this species is threatened by forest loss and bush-meat hunters. This seven-year-old male, Tigri, is likely the only cat of its kind in captivity.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT PARC ASSANGO, LIBREVILLE, GABON

MARBLED CAT PARDOFELIS MARMORATA A supersize tail likely helps this house-cat-size species balance as it navigates the forests of Southeast Asia at night. Due largely to its secretive lifestyle, it is one of the least known small wildcats.
PHOTOGRAPHED AT PRIVATE ZOO

[Via: nationalgeographic.com]

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