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Blackfooted-cat-LaWanna-Mitchell.jpg

The black-footed cat, also called the small-spotted cat, is the smallest wild cat in Africa, having a head-and-body length of 35–52 cm. Despite its name, only the soles of its feet are black or dark brown. With its bold small spots and stripes on the tawny fur, it is well camouflaged, especially on moonlit nights. It also bears black streaks running from the corners of the eyes along the cheeks, and its banded tail has a black tip. The black-footed cat is endemic to Southern Africa; its distribution is much more restricted than other small cats in this region. Its range extends from South Africa northward into Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, possibly into extreme southeastern Angola. It is unlikely to occur in Lesotho and Swaziland It inhabits open, dry savannas and shrubland in the Karoo and the southwestern Kalahari with short grasses, low bush cover, and scattered clumps of low bush and higher grasses. The mean annual precipitation in this region ranges from 100–500 mm (3.9–19.7 in). In the Drakensberg area, it was recorded at an elevation of 2,000 m (6,561 ft 8 in).

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