The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) is one
of the three larger cats in Africa, but is the only one in its genus.
Cheetahs are speed hunters and catch their prey more often than not. But
in being the fastest animals on earth they forfeit the strength to
protect their cubs and keep their food. Lions and other predators
frequently steel their food and kill their
offspring. Cheetahs generally hunt alone but males sometimes form
coalitions with other males. Female live alone with the cubs. They
eat Thomson's gazelles as a main food source. The claws on the feet
protrude providing traction and the black lines under each eye help reduce
the sun's glare.
The Lion (Panthera leo) is known by
everyone. King of the Jungle is one of his tiles though lions are not
found in the jungle but on a savanna. They are one of the few cats that
live in social groups. There are typically 1 to 4 adult males in the pride and any number of females as long as the food is abundant. The
females of the pride are always related. Lions hunt many species of
ungulates from dangerous cape buffalos and
zebras to small burrowing warthogs and fleet-footed gazelles.
(Panthera pardus) is
a big cat with the largest distribution. It is found throughout Africa and
much of Asia. Leopard are also the best big cats at climbing. To keep
there food from the jaws of other predators the leopard drags it up a
tree. Leopard are very secretive and are usually the hardest big cats to
see in Africa. They are solitary and like to hunt in more denser foliage
than the lion. From trees they can even jump onto the preys back.
The Caracal (Caracal caracal) is an
Asian resident as well as an African. They are sometimes called the desert
lynx because of the likeness and yet they actually might be closer
relatives than most. Caracals have an igneous hunting style that prevents
them from being injured by prey. The stalk it but when apprehended they
hit the prey over and over flinging it. Only when the prey is stunned dose
the cat deliver the killing bite. In this way they kill birds, rodents,
hyraxes and dik-dik. They will even attack larger prey like impala if the
(Leptailurus serval) is
shaped like no other feline. They have long legs and huge oval ears.
Servals live in the grasslands, thorn shrub and savanna woodlands of
Africa. Here the long canine -like legs come in handy letting the cat se
over the grass and the large ears help to pinpoint a mouse in the thick
grass. They also eat rabbits, guinea fowl, cane rats, mole rats, duikers,
lizards, and fish.
African Golden Cat (Profelis aurata) lives
in the tropical forest of western Africa and less dense areas. At twilight
they hunt for rodent, monkeys, birds and hyraxes. They hunt on the ground
but are skilled tree climbers. This cat lives with the threat of
extinction due to the trade in its pelts and habitat destruction.