Introduction to Drakensberg felines
The Drakensberg has a magnificent array of felines. This collection ranges from the regal Caracal to the Serval, African Wild Cat and the elusive Leopard.
The Caracal, the largest member of the small cat family, has an average height of some 40 centimetres. However, it can weigh up to 14 kgs and is renowned for its stocky build, long legs, short face, pronounced tufted ears, and long canine teeth. The Caracal, a rare but unusual sighting in the Drakensberg, survives on small antelopes, rock rabbits (dassies) and birds.
The video “Mountain Rivals” serves as a wonderful introduction to Drakensberg Caracal.
This video has raised awareness of the existence of the Caracal in this region and its fascinating characteristics.
The Serval is a small, nocturnal feline, often noted at the side of roads leading into the Drakensberg. It is a beautiful creature with a distinctive spot-like marking. The Serval can reach a height of 50 centimetres and weigh up to 14 kgs. This cat consumes rodents and birds.
African Wild Cat
The African Wild Cat, often mistaken for the domesticated ‘Tabby Cat’, however, has longer legs and orange-brown tipped ears. This feline has a nocturnal nature and a varied diet of insects, reptiles, rodents and birds. Its height can be as much as 38 centimetres and a weight of five kg.
The Wild Cat’s existence is threatened by interbreeding with feral cats.
The population of the Leopard, one of the ‘Big Five’, appears to be increasing in the Drakensberg. Evidence includes the level of sightings and signs of its existence, such as spoor and faeces. These cats reside throughout KwaZulu-Natal, particularly in protected areas. The height of this magnificent animal is approximately 80 centimetres, and it weighs up to 70 kgs. Its diet comprises rodents and small antelope.