Jungle Cats

Day in the Life

Basic Information

The jungle cat, scientifically known as Felis chaus, is nicknamed the “Swamp Cat” because of its habitat of wetlands. A mid-sized cat, the average jungle cat grows up to 20 lbs and varies from sandy grey to light red. It has a narrow head with a high forehead, tall, rounded ears with black hair at the tips, and a relatively short tail compared to other cats. The jungle cat originated in the Nile River Valley in Africa, which makes sense considering its preference for areas close to water.

Mating and Family Life

Though there is no definitive research, it is believed that jungle cats breed twice a year. Offspring live on their own by age 5-6 months, and they are sexually mature between months 11 and 18. When they want to mate, male jungle cats make a “barking” sound. Females will have up to six kittens at a time, and will typically raise them on their own.

Diet and Hunting Patterns

A jungle cat hunting its prey.

The jungle cat catches its natural prey, a rodent. Image courtesy of Nirav Bhatt

Small rodents are the main prey of the carnivorous jungle cat, as rodents make up 70% of the energy intake of the jungle cat, but jungle cats also eat birds. A study in Russia also found that, in Russia olives make up 17% of the jungle cat's diet. When it hunts, the jungle cat makes a sound before pouncing. Jungle cats are prey to crocodiles and wolves. Sometimes, they are eaten by tigers. If the attacker is bigger, the jungle cat will retreat.

Communication and Behavior

Jungle cats live in spaces that foxes and badgers leave empty, like dens. As a result of the destruction of their habitats, they may be forced into close contact with humans. On these occasions, they may also live in spaces left empty by humans such as abandoned apartments. They are also active during all hours of the day. Like servals, jungle cats are pretty solitary. Jungle cats communicate via scent marking and cheek rubbing, and they make a variety of sounds, from gurgles to chirps.